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19 tourists killed in balloon explosion in Egypt's Luxor


17:21, February 26, 2013

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) -- Nineteen tourists were killed in a balloon explosion Tuesday morning in Egypt's Luxor governorate, state-run al-Ahram online reported.

"The explosion happened in the early morning. The pressure was too high in the balloon and then fire of the engine touched the balloon and suddenly the balloon was on fire," a local tourist guide named Mohamed told Xinhua.

"The balloon belongs to the Sky Cruise company. The dead and injured have been transferred to the Luxor International Hospital, " he added.

Al-Ahram online quoted a source in the 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.

The source added that 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 noted that the balloon driver and an English guide jumped from the balloon during the fire and were seriously injured.

According to the official news agency MENA, the killed came from China's Hong Kong, Japan, Britain and France.

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