|Balloons are seen in this file photo taken in Luxor, Egypt, Feb. 20, 2012. Nine tourists from China's Hongkong were killed in a balloon explosion Tuesday morning in Egypt's Luxor governorate, a local health official told Xinhua. (Xinhua/Li Muzi)
CAIRO, Feb. 26 (Xinhua) -- Up to 18 tourists were killed and three others injured in a balloon explosion on Tuesday morning in Egypt's Luxor governorate, a local health official told Xinhua.
"Eighteen tourists including nine from China's Hong Kong, four Japanese, two British, two French, one Egyptian, and one Hungarian have been killed in the accident," Abul Naga Abdel-Rady, head of the Luxor's Ambulance Authority, told Xinhua.
Mohamed Sultan, head of Egypt's Ambulance Authority, told Xinhua the 18 dead bodies will be transferred to Cairo within one hour.
"Two of the three injured were transferred to Cairo. Among them the Briton with an injury in the head was taken to Nasser Institute Hospital while the Egyptian with burns was transferred to Helmiya Military Hospital," Sultan added.
Sultan said the third injured person, a Briton, is in serious condition and currently receiving treatment in the Intensive Care Unit at Luxor International Hospital.
Meanwhile, the state-run MENA news agency reported the same fatal casualties, quoting the Health Ministry.
The balloon was carrying a total of 21 people, including a pilot, who reportedly managed to survive and was among the three injured, local media outlets said.
Eyewitnesses living near the accident scene said they were waken up in the early morning by the explosive sound and saw the balloon blazing in the air and charred dead bodies falling.
Luxor governor Ezzat Saad has decided to suspend the business of balloons companies and ordered the companies to cancel all the arranged balloon trips. Prosecution in the governorate has started investigation into the accident.
The official al-Ahram online quoted a source in "Sky Cruise" company as saying that the hose attached to the gas tanks was cut while some workers were trying to tug the rope of the balloon during landing, which led to the explosion.
"After the hose had been cut, the tanks exploded, and the balloon rose up in the air for 400 meters and got ablaze with 19 tourists inside," the source added.
In 2009, a balloon impinged with a tower of mobile phone network on a building roof and fell down in the west bank of Nile River in Luxor, leaving 19 people injured.
9 tourists from China's Hong Kong killed in Luxor balloon explosion
CAIRO, Feb. 26 (Xinhua) -- Nine tourists from China's Hongkong were killed in a balloon explosion Tuesday morning in Egypt's Luxor governorate, a local health official told Xinhua.
"Eighteen tourists, including nine from Hong Kong, four Japanese, two Britons, two Frenchmen and an Egyptian, have been killed in the accident," Abul Naga Abdel-Rady, head of Luxor's Ambulance Authority told Xinhua. Full story
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