Egypt Balloon Crash: Dangerous History Of Luxor Balloon Trip

Hot air balloon flights over the Valley of the Kings in Egypt were given a major safety overhaul nearly four years ago after a series of accidents.

The trips, usually booked at sunrise, are popular with British visitors to Egypt as they allow a panoramic view of the ancient sites of the Karnak and Luxor temples as well as the Valley of the Kings.

A file picture of the balloon ride

However there have been a number of crashes. 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 Gourna Village on the West Bank of the Nile.

Two injured tourists are pictured at Luxor International Hospital, more than 700 kms south of Cairo, following the crash of a hot air balloon in the southern Egyptian temple city on April 25, 2009

A fortnight earlier, seven tourists were injured in a similar crash. And in late February that year, three hot air balloons carrying 60 tourists crashed on the same day in separate locations. Seven passengers suffered injuries including broken bones.

Another tourist uploaded the following video of a balloon crash in Egypt to YouTube in October 2011. No holidaymakers were hurt, but the balloon crashed into the Nile and there was not enough gas to propel them out, until they drifted to the side of the river and were rescued.

In April 2008, four Scottish tourists, who were photographing Luxor in a group with three other holiday makers, were seriously injured when the hot air balloon in which they were travelling crash-landed.

Eight French and American 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.

Pictures of the crash in February 2013 taken by tourist Christopher Michel

Following 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.