Egypt balloon crash likely caused by fuel leak: report

7 January 2014
A resident walks past the wreckage of a hot air balloon that crashed in Luxor
A resident walks past the wreckage of a hot air balloon that crashed in Luxor February 26, 2013. REUTERS/Mohamed Abd El Ghany

CAIRO (Reuters) - A hot air balloon crash that killed 19 people, most of them foreign tourists, in the Egyptian town of Luxor last year was probably caused by a fuel leak, according to an Egyptian government report published on Tuesday.

The February 26 crash was the deadliest ballooning accident on record. The fuel, which leaked from a hose, was set alight by the balloon's burner, the report said, according to officials.

Early-morning hot air balloons are popular among tourists visiting Luxor's pharaonic temples and Valley of the Kings. Luxor is 320 miles south of Cairo on the Nile.

The foreign casualties were from Hong Kong, Japan, Britain, France and Hungary.

The fire began as the balloon was landing, according to witnesses. Its pilot, who was badly burned, leapt out before the balloon rose rapidly to about 1,000 feet, at which point its canopy was engulfed in flames and the basket crashed.

(Writing by Tom Perry; Editing by Larry King)

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