Balloon Crash Kills 19 In Egypt

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Nineteen tourists flying above the temples and tombs near Egypt's Nile River in a hot-air balloon were killed on Tuesday when the aircraft caught fire, according to the Associated Press. The passengers were from Europe, Hong Kong, and Japan. The pilot and several others survived and are being treated for burns. Tourist flights are popular in the Luxor region, where they are a mainstay in the local economy, and several other balloons were flying at the time of the accident. Local officials have grounded all flights.

According to the AP, officials said the balloon was approaching to land when a "landing cable" caught on a propane hose, which ruptured and caught fire. The balloon then shot up into the air, and the fire set off an explosion in at least one of the propane tanks on board. The balloon reached about 1,000 feet before the envelope failed and the aircraft crashed in a sugar cane field. Luxor's tourist industry has suffered, says the AP, since recent unrest in Egypt has scared foreigners away.