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Published on Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Ban on balloon flights following fatal crash



Hot air balloon flights in Luxor have been temporarily banned following yesterday's tragic accident in which three Thomas Cook clients were killed.


All three died when a hot air balloon they were travelling in caught fire and exploded.


Britons Yvonne Rennie and Joe Bampton and his Hungarian-born partner Suzanna Gyetvai, who was living in the UK, were among 19 passengers killed. Only Ms Rennie's husband and the pilot survived the crash.


The balloon, operated by local firm Skycruise, caught fire as it came in to land following a dawn flight over ancient sites close to Luxor. Eye witnesses said it then shot 1,000 feet into the air before exploding and crashing to the ground.


Mr Rennie, who jumped from the balloon along with the pilot and at least seven other passengers, was taken to hospital in Cairo with lacerations. The pilot is suffering from severe burns. All the other passenger died, either at the scene or in hospital. They are believed to be from France, Hong Kong and Japan.


Egypt's prime minister Hisham Qandil has ordered an investigation into the crash, and in the meantime all flights from Luxor are suspended.



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