LUXOR, Egypt, Feb. 27 (Xinhua) -- An initial investigation into the crash and blast of a balloon that killed 19 tourists in Egypt' s southern Luxor revealed that there was no criminal suspicion in the accident but the balloon's condition was too deteriorated to fly, Luxor Prosecution told Xinhua Wednesday.
"The initial probe pointed to no criminal suspicion, but the condition of the balloon was too bad. The Civil Aviation Ministry should be responsible for the accident because the balloon companies are related to the ministry," Mamdouh Khaled, Luxor security chief told Xinhua.
Local eyewitnesses and tourists in nearby hot air balloons told prosecution that the pilot tried to land the tragic balloon twice, but the balloon was set ablaze during the first landing and flew suddenly according to the wind direction while it is on fire.
Meanwhile, sources close to the Sky Cruise company that owns the balloon told Xinhua that the pilot had reported a problem with the helium cylinder to the ground controller and tried to land the balloon before the accident.
Other official sources in aviation sector told Xinhua that initial investigations pointed to a human mistake, which meant the pilot was responsible for the accident because he should have locked the gas valve before the gas hose exploded, added that he didn't use any fire control facilities to put out the fire but jumped from the balloon.
For his part, the head of the civil aviation authority Mohamed Sherief affirmed that the pilot's documents were renewed last January and didn't have any violation records.
But he added that the balloons should be checked and granted a validity certificate from the technician director before every trip, referring that the balloon's pilot and the technical director were responsible for the accident.
Meanwhile, the head of the chamber of the tourism companies in Luxor said that Sky Cruise company reportedly has committed violations before, noting that the balloon companies ended its contracts with the meteorological authority in Luxor after the Jan. 25 upheaval due to the safety instruction violation.
The investigations are still undergoing by Luxor prosecution and a committee assigned by the Civil Aviation Authority.
Nineteen tourists were killed and two others injured in a balloon explosion Tuesday morning in Egypt's Luxor governorate. The dead included nine from China's Hong Kong as well as four Japanese, two Britons, two Frenchmen, one Egyptian and one Hungarian.
CAIRO, Feb. 26 (Xinhua) -- The death toll of Egypt's Luxor balloon accident rose to 19 Tuesday afternoon after a seriously- wounded English tourist died at Luxor International Hospital, Mohamed Sultan, head of Egypt's Ambulance Authority, confirmed to Xinhua.
"The other two injured people were transferred to Cairo. A Briton with an injury in the head was taken to Nasser Institute Hospital while an Egyptian with burns was transferred to Helmiya Military Hospital," Sultan added. Full story
BEIJING, Feb. 26 (Xinhua) -- The Foreign Ministry confirmed Tuesday that nine tourists from Hong Kong have died in Egypt.
"The Chinese government has taken the deaths of the nine Hong Kong tourists seriously and sent a work panel to Egypt to deal with the aftermath," Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said in a statement Tuesday night. Full story