Three Britons are believed to be among 19 tourists killed in a hot air balloon crash near the Egyptian city of Luxor.

The balloon caught fire and exploded at 1,000ft, before plunging into a sugar cane field west of Luxor, which is 320 miles (510km) south of the capital Cairo.

One other British tourist is believed to be in hospital, according to tour operator Thomas Cook.

balloon crash egypt

egypt balloon crash

Pictures of the crash taken by tourist Christopher Michel

Thomas Cook, who operated the tour, said it was working with local officials and a full investigation would be taking taking place.

"While this investigation is under way, Thomas Cook UK has temporarily suspended sales of hot air balloon rides in Egypt," the company added.

Thomas Cook was giving no more details of those killed or injured, although it was thought that one of the dead Britons was an English male.

The company has around 150 clients in the Luxor area at present. The company was not giving out any information about just when the four Britons involved had started their holidays or what their package involved.

It is thought the one surviving Briton has been flown to hospital in Cairo more than 300 miles away. It was reported that this survivor had 70% burns.

The two Britons who initially survived are believed to have been among nine in the balloon who had leapt to the ground as the fire began. The rest of the tourists are thought to have died in the explosion.

Thomas Cook UK has opened a hotline for concerned relatives who have guests in resort - 0800 107 563

The casualties are believed to include two French, four Japanese and nine Hong Kong tourists, according to a security official in the country. Two Egyptians were also killed in the balloon crash, reported the BBC.

It is unclear how many survived the crash, but initial reports suggest only the pilot and one other person survived.

Ahmed Aboud, a spokesman for companies that operate balloon flights in the area, told the Reuters news agency the tourists were from a variety of countries.

"There were 20 passengers aboard. An explosion happened and 19 passengers died. One tourist and the pilot survived," he said by telephone. Aboud said he was the representative of eight companies that operate balloons in Luxor.


christopher michel
Balloon crash in Luxor of the balloon behind mine. Heard the explosion and saw smoke. 19 dead.

A Foreign Office spokesman: "We are aware of the reports and we are making urgent inquiries with the authorities in Egypt."

An AP reporter at the crash site said he saw eight bodies being put into body bags and taken away.

Cherry Tohamy, an Egyptian living in Kuwait who was on holiday in Luxor, was in another balloon which 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."


Hot air balloon trips, usually at sunrise over the Karnak and Luxor temples as well as the Valley of the Kings, are popular with British visitors to Egypt.

Sixteen people were hurt, including two British women, when a balloon crashed during a tour of Luxor in April 2009. The balloon was believed to have hit a mobile phone transmission tower near the banks of the Nile.

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  • Hot Air Balloon Crash in Egypt

    Hot Air Balloon Crash in Egypt pictures by @chrismichel

  • Hot Air Balloon Crash in Egypt pictures by @chrismichel

    Hot Air Balloon Crash in Egypt pictures by @chrismichel

  • Hot Air Balloon Crash in Egypt pictures by @chrismichel

    Hot Air Balloon Crash in Egypt pictures by @chrismichel

  • Hot Air Balloon Crash in Egypt pictures by @chrismichel

    Hot Air Balloon Crash in Egypt pictures by @chrismichel

  • In this image made available by Christopher Michel, the launch site near Luxor in Egypt, shortly prior to a hot air balloon explosion which killed at least 18 tourists including a number of tourists Tuesday Feb. 26, 2013. 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. (AP Photo/Christopher Michel)

  • In this image made available by Christopher Michel, the launch site near Luxor in Egypt, shortly prior to a hot air balloon explosion which killed at least 18 tourists including a number of tourists Tuesday Feb. 26, 2013. 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. (AP Photo/Christopher Michel)

  • Egyptians gather near the scene of a balloon crash outside al-Dhabaa village, just west of the city of Luxor, 510 kilometers (320 miles) south of Cairo, Egypt, Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2013. A hot air balloon flying over Egypt's ancient city of Luxor caught fire and crashed into a sugar cane field on Tuesday, killing at least 19 foreign tourists, a security official said. (AP Photo/Hagag Salama)

  • Rescue workers inspect the scene of a balloon crash outside al-Dhabaa village, just west of the city of Luxor, 510 kilometers (320 miles) south of Cairo, Egypt, Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2013. A hot air balloon flying over Egypt's ancient city of Luxor caught fire and crashed into a sugar cane field on Tuesday, killing at least 19 foreign tourists, a security official said. (AP Photo/Hagag Salama)

  • A victim of a ballon accident is seen in a body bag lying on a dirt road near the scene of a crash outside al-Dhabaa village just west of the city of Luxor, 510 kilometers (320 miles) south of Cairo, Egypt, Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2013. A hot air balloon flying over Egypt's ancient city of Luxor caught fire and crashed into a sugar cane field on Tuesday, killing at least 19 foreign tourists, a security official said. (AP Photo/Hagag Salama)

  • An Egyptian rescue worker collects remains near the scene of a balloon crash outside al-Dhabaa village, just west of the city of Luxor, 510 kilometers (320 miles) south of Cairo, Egypt, Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2013. A hot air balloon flying over Egypt's ancient city of Luxor caught fire and crashed into a sugar cane field on Tuesday, killing at least 19 foreign tourists, a security official said. (AP Photo/Ibrahim Zayed)

  • An Egyptian rescue worker collects remains near the scene of a balloon crash outside al-Dhabaa village, just west of the city of Luxor, 510 kilometers (320 miles) south of Cairo, Egypt, Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2013. A hot air balloon flying over Egypt's ancient city of Luxor caught fire and crashed into a sugar cane field on Tuesday, killing at least 19 foreign tourists, a security official said. (AP Photo/Ibrahim Zayed)

  • Egyptian paramedics evacuate the body of a slain foreign tourist to be transferred to Cairo, at the morgue of the Luxor International Hospital, in Luxor, Egypt, Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2013. A hot air balloon flying over Egypt's ancient city of Luxor caught fire and crashed into a sugar cane field on Tuesday, killing at least 19 foreign tourists in one of the world's deadliest ballooning accidents and handing a new blow to Egypt's ailing tourism industry. Arabic on the wall reads, "we will all return to God, there is no God but God, and Muhammed is his prophet." (AP Photo/Nasser Nasser)

  • An Egyptian security worker guards the morgue during the evacuation of the slain foreign tourists, to be transferred to Cairo, unseen, at the Luxor International Hospital, in Luxor, Egypt, Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2013. A hot air balloon flying over Egypt's ancient city of Luxor caught fire and crashed into a sugar cane field on Tuesday, killing at least 19 foreign tourists in one of the world's deadliest ballooning accidents and handing a new blow to Egypt's ailing tourism industry. Arabic on the placard reads "the morgue." (AP Photo/Nasser Nasser)

  • An Egyptian paramedic evacuates the body of a slain foreign tourist to be transferred to Cairo, at the morgue of the Luxor International Hospital, in Luxor, Egypt, Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2013. A hot air balloon flying over Egypt's ancient city of Luxor caught fire and crashed into a sugar cane field on Tuesday, killing at least 19 foreign tourists in one of the world's deadliest ballooning accidents and handing a new blow to Egypt's ailing tourism industry. (AP Photo/Nasser Nasser)

  • Egyptians gather at the site of a balloon crash where the remains of the burned gondola are seen, outside al-Dhabaa village, just west of the city of Luxor, 510 kilometers (320 miles) south of Cairo, Egypt, Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2013. A hot air balloon flying over Egypt's ancient city of Luxor caught fire and crashed into a sugar cane field on Tuesday, killing at least 18 foreign tourists, a security official said. The casualties included French, British, Belgian, Hungarian, Japanese nationals and nine tourists from Hong Kong, Luxor Governor, Saad told reporters. (AP Photo/Hagag Salama)

  • Rescue workers and civilians search for bodies at the scene of a balloon crash outside al-Dhabaa village, just west of the city of Luxor, 510 kilometers (320 miles) south of Cairo, Egypt, Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2013. A hot air balloon flying over Egypt's ancient city of Luxor caught fire and crashed into a sugar cane field on Tuesday, killing at least 18 foreign tourists, a security official said. The casualties included French, British, Belgian, Hungarian, Japanese nationals and nine tourists from Hong Kong, Luxor Governor, Saad told reporters. (AP Photo/Hagag Salama)

  • Ezzat Saad

    Luxor Governor Ezzat Saad, center, speaks to reporters in al-Dhabaa village, just west of the city of Luxor, 510 kilometers (320 miles) south of Cairo, Egypt, Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2013. A hot air balloon flying over Egypt's ancient city of Luxor caught fire and crashed into a sugar cane field on Tuesday, killing at least 18 foreign tourists, a security official said. The casualties included French, British, Belgian, Hungarian, Japanese nationals and nine tourists from Hong Kong, Luxor Governor, Saad told reporters. (AP Photo/Ibrahim Zayed)

  • Rescue workers prepare to remove a body from the scene of a balloon crash outside al-Dhabaa village, just west of the city of Luxor, 510 kilometers (320 miles) south of Cairo, Egypt, Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2013. A hot air balloon flying over Egypt's ancient city of Luxor caught fire and crashed into a sugar cane field on Tuesday, killing at least 18 foreign tourists, a security official said. The casualties included French, British, Belgian, Hungarian, Japanese nationals and nine tourists from Hong Kong, Luxor Governor, Saad told reporters. (AP Photo/Hagag Salama)

  • EGYPT BALLOON ACCIDENT

    Map locates Luxor, Egypt, where a hot air balloon crash killed foreign tourists

  • In this combo made from images from amateur video provided by Al-Jazeera, smoke pours from a hot air balloon over Luxor, Egypt, top left, before bursting, top right, and plummeting about 1,000 feet to earth, bottom left and right, on Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2013. Nineteen people were killed in what appeared to be the deadliest hot air ballooning accident on record. A British tourist and the Egyptian pilot, who was badly burned, were the sole survivors. (AP Photo/Al-Jazeera) MANDATORY CREDIT: AL-JAZEERA

  • Hot air balloon crash

    Kathleen Lumsden speaks to the media on her doorstep about nextdoor neighbours Michael Rennie, 49, and wife Yvonne, from Perth, who were caught up in the Egyptian balloon tragedy. It is not yet clear if they are among the 19 fatalities.

  • Hot air balloon crash

    Kathleen Lumsden speaks to the media on her doorstep about nextdoor neighbours Michael Rennie, 49, and wife Yvonne, from Perth, who were caught up in the Egyptian balloon tragedy. It is not yet clear if they are among the 19 fatalities.

  • Hot air balloon crash

    Linda Kettles with daughter in law Louise and her daughter Abigail puts flowers on the doorstep of their nextdoor neighbours Michael Rennie, 49, and wife Yvonne, from Perth, who were caught up in the Egyptian balloon tragedy. It is not yet clear if they are among the 19 fatalities.

  • Hot air balloon crash

    Flowers are laid on the doorstep of Michael Rennie, 49, and wife Yvonne, from Perth, who were caught up in the Egyptian balloon tragedy. It is not yet clear if they are among the 19 fatalities.

  • Hot air balloon crash

    Linda Kettles speaks to the media on her doorstep in Perth about nextdoor neighbours Michael Rennie, 49, and wife Yvonne, from Perth, who were caught up in the Egyptian balloon tragedy. It is not yet clear if they are among the 19 fatalities.

  • Hot air balloon crash

    Linda Kettles speaks to the media on her doorstep in Perth about nextdoor neighbours Michael Rennie, 49, and wife Yvonne, from Perth, who were caught up in the Egyptian balloon tragedy. It is not yet clear if they are among the 19 fatalities.

  • Journalists work at the site of the balloon accident, in Luxor, Egypt, Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2013. A hot air balloon flying over Egypt's ancient city of Luxor caught fire and crashed into a sugar cane field on Tuesday, killing at least 19 foreign tourists in one of the world's deadliest ballooning accidents and handing a new blow to Egypt's ailing tourism industry. (AP Photo/Nasser Nasser)

  • Hot air balloon crash

    Pictured is the home of Michael Rennie, 49, and wife Yvonne, from Perth, who were caught up in the Egyptian balloon tragedy. It is not yet clear if they are among the 19 fatalities.

  • An Egyptian field guard looks at two inspectors of the Civil Aviation Authority working at the site of the balloon accident, in Luxor, Egypt, Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2013. A hot air balloon flying over Egypt's ancient city of Luxor caught fire and crashed into a sugar cane field on Tuesday, killing at least 19 foreign tourists in one of the world's deadliest ballooning accidents and handing a new blow to Egypt's ailing tourism industry. (AP Photo/Nasser Nasser)

  • An Egyptian policeman stands guard at the site of the balloon accident, in Luxor, Egypt, Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2013. A hot air balloon flying over Egypt's ancient city of Luxor caught fire and crashed into a sugar cane field on Tuesday, killing at least 19 foreign tourists in one of the world's deadliest ballooning accidents and handing a new blow to Egypt's ailing tourism industry. (AP Photo/Nasser Nasser)

  • Two Egyptian inspectors of the Civil Aviation Authority work at the site of the balloon accident, in Luxor, Egypt, Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2013. A hot air balloon flying over Egypt's ancient city of Luxor caught fire and crashed into a sugar cane field on Tuesday, killing at least 19 foreign tourists in one of the world's deadliest ballooning accidents and handing a new blow to Egypt's ailing tourism industry. (AP Photo/Nasser Nasser)

  • An Egyptian inspector of the Civil Aviation Authority, left, works at the site of the balloon accident, in Luxor, Egypt, Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2013. A hot air balloon flying over Egypt's ancient city of Luxor caught fire and crashed into a sugar cane field on Tuesday, killing at least 19 foreign tourists in one of the world's deadliest ballooning accidents and handing a new blow to Egypt's ailing tourism industry. (AP Photo/Nasser Nasser)