A hot air balloon carrying twenty tourists on a sky-high ride over the ancient city of Luxor, Egypt, crashed today, after being blown off course and into the nearby mountains by powerful winds. One South African tourist died during the crash, and several others were injured, according to authorities in Cairo. Twenty ambulances responded to the emergency and took survivors to local hospitals.
Hot air balloon accidents sound like something that would happen in the late 19th Century, but they’re not as rare as one might think. Just five years ago, another hot air balloon in Egypt caught fire, killing 19 in the resulting crash. In 2016, all balloon flights ceased in the region, after another similar accident injured over 20 people.
Two of the people injured in today’s crash are in critical condition. The governor of the Luxor area, Mahmoud Badr, visited the survivors at the hospital where they are receiving treatment. The tourists involved in the crash come from multiple countries worldwide, including South Africa, Spain, Argentina, as well as Egypt.
It’s no wonder that tourists choose to ride hot air balloons over the ancient city of Luxor. It is the ancient site of Thebes, the Pharaohs’ seat of power during Ancient Egypt’s most affluent age. The famous Temple of Karnak and the Luxor Temple are located in the area, and the Valley of the Kings and Valley of the Queens are just cross the river Nile. Surely, many of these objectives can easily be spotted from the vantage point afforded by a hot air balloon. However, the risks involved are not to be dismissed, as evidenced not only by today’s crash, but by the frequency of previous accidents as well. Many of us dream of an Indiana Jones moment during such a trip, but perhaps a little less adventure would be a prudent choice.