‘They threw them­selves from the height of a seven storey build­ing’

WIT­NESSES DE­SCRIBE MOMENT THREE BRITS DIED IN EGYP­TIAN BAL­LOON TRAGEDY

Midweek Sport - - NEWS - By JUSTIN DUNN justin@sun­daysport.co.uk a

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.

Pop­u­lar

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

af­ter­math

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.