Feb 26 2013 By Cheryl Mullin
A NUMBER of Britons were among 19 tourists killed after a hot air balloon exploded and crashed near the Egyptian city of Luxor.
Witnesses described hearing a loud explosion before seeing plumes of smoke as the balloon caught fire and plunged into a sugar cane field west of Luxor, which is 320 miles (510km) south of the capital Cairo.
The casualties are believed to include British and French tourists, as well as other nationalities, a security official in the country said.
A spokesman for air balloon tour operator Sky Cruise said there were two survivors, including the pilot, who is in a serious condition in hospital.
He said it was believed there were “about four” Britons on board.
Witness Christopher Michel described the carnage on Twitter, where he posted a series of photographs showing the balloons ahead of the flight.
“It was the balloon behind mine. I heard a loud explosion and saw smoke,” he said.
Hamdy Shabaan, operations manager at another operator, Sinbad hot air balloons, said the basket was on fire when it fell to the ground.
He said there would be no more flights today as they are restricted to take place between 6 and 8am.
Pictures from the scene showed one casualty in a body bag on the ground in front of an ambulance.