Egypt hot air balloon crash: The accidents that were meant to make Luxor safe

Simon Garner

Hot air balloon flights in Egypt were meant to be safe after a major safety overhaul nearly four years ago following a spate of accidents.

British tourists flock to sign up to trips over the Valley of the Kings, Luxor and Karnak because they allow panoramic views of the ancient sites.

         [Related content: British tourists feared to be among 19 dead in Luxor tragedy]

During a tour of Luxor in April 2009 sixteen people were hurt, including two British women, when a balloon crashed after hitting a mobile phone transmission tower on the West Bank of the Nile near Gourna Village.

Two weeks earlier, seven tourists were injured in similar circumstances.

And in February that year, three hot air balloons with 60 tourists onboard crashed on the same day in different locations. In total seven passengers suffered injuries, including broken bones.

The year before, four Scottish tourists, who were photographing Luxor in a group with three other holidaymakers, were badly injured when their balloon crash-landed.

Eight American and French holidaymakers were hurt in 2007 along with two Egyptians when their balloon crash-landed in a field near Luxor. The sightseeing trip went wrong when strong winds forced the balloon down in Gourna.

After the 2009 crash, early morning hot air balloon flights over the Valley of the Kings were suspended for six months while safety measures were tightened up.

During the break, all 42 pilots from the eight companies which operate flights had extra training.

Other initiatives to improve safety brought in included confining all take-offs to a new balloon "airport" and limiting the maximum number of balloons up at the same time to eight - previously as many as 50 could share the air space.

By using Yahoo you agree that Yahoo and partners may use Cookies for personalisation and other purposes