‘They threw themselves from the height of a seven storey building’
WITNESSES DESCRIBE MOMENT THREE BRITS DIED IN EGYPTIAN BALLOON TRAGEDY
TWO Brits and a UK resident died after a hot air balloon burst into flames and exploded 1,000ft up over Egypt yesterday.
In all, 19 people were killed including French, Hong Kong and Japanese citizens. Another Briton is in hospital and a pilot is also said to have survived.
The balloon was high over the city of Luxor when it blew up, caught fire and plunged on to sugar cane fields.
Travel company Thomas Cook said the British citizens and resident were its customers and the accident was “terrible tragedy”.
Hospital worker Yvonne Rennie, from Perth, Scotland, was named among the dead. Her husband Michael is believed to be in hospital.
The group had been on holiday and were among more than 20 people in the balloon when it crashed.
Luxor lies on the banks EXPLOSION: Gas tanks on balloon burst into flames of the River Nile in the south of the country, and has long been a popular tourist destination.
The crash happened on one of the many dawn hot air balloon flights that give tourists a view of tourist attractions, such as Karnak temple and the royal tombs in the Valley of the Kings.
Thomas Cook said it had suspended sales of hot air balloon rides in Egypt.
The balloon’s operating company, Sky Cruise, confirmed that a gas cylinder had exploded on board, bringing the craft down.
Holidaymaker Cherry Tohamy was in another balloon that was landing when she heard an explosion and saw flames from a balloon above.
She told the BBC: “Our pilot told us that the balloon had hit a high-pressure electrical cable and a cylinder on board exploded.
“People were jumping out of the balloon from about the height of a seven-storey building.”
American photographer Christopher Michel was in another balloon behind when the accident happened.
He said: “Our pilot said that something like this had not happened for a long time, told us to look forward and we were taken to the ground.
“I did not see the balloon come down but I would assume it fell. It is a real tragedy and everybody is in shock.”
Thomas Cook has an emergency phone line for concerned relatives on 0800 107 5638.
TRAGIC: The balloon minutes before tragedy struck and the