We need your help now

Support from readers like you keeps The Journal open.

You are visiting us because we have something you value. Independent, unbiased news that tells the truth. Advertising revenue goes some way to support our mission, but this year it has not been enough.

If you've seen value in our reporting, please contribute what you can, so we can continue to produce accurate and meaningful journalism. For everyone who needs it.

An Egyptian policeman stands guard at the side of the balloon accident AP Photo/Nasser Nasser

Initial probe into Egypt balloon crash rules out 'criminal activity'

Four investigating teams are examining the evidence after up to 19 tourists were killed in the hot-air balloon crash.

AN INITIAL PROBE into a hot air balloon crash that killed up to 19 tourists in Egypt yesterday has ruled out any criminal activity as a cause of the accident, the official MENA news agency has reported.

“Investigations so far by the general prosecution show no suspicion of criminal activity,” MENA said today, citing the preliminary findings of the investigation into Tuesday’s accident at the Egyptian temple city of Luxor.

Four investigating teams were formed after Prime Minister Hisham Qandil ordered a probe into the crash that killed tourists from Hong Kong, Japan, France, Britain and Hungary.

Investigators inspected the scene of the crash in the dense sugar cane fields of Luxor, spoke to witnesses and residents and reviewed the operating company’s paperwork and licences.

According to one of the investigating teams, the balloon company, Sky Cruise, had passed a routine inspection by the Civil Aviation Ministry on February 13-15, said MENA.

Civil Aviation Minister Wael al-Maadawi said, meanwhile, that he had agreed to a request by British authorities to attend the probe.

The balloon had been floating over the west bank of Luxor, one of Egypt’s most renowned archaeological sites and home to the famous Valley of the Kings and the grand Temple of Hatshepsut, when it exploded.

A video shot by a passenger on another flight appears to show smoke pouring from the balloon’s basket for some time before the balloon itself collapses, leaving the basket full of tourists to freefall to earth.

The pilot and one tourist survived by jumping out of the basket at some point before it hit the ground, said an employee of Sky Cruise. Both were taken to hospital.

- © AFP, 2013

Read: Hot air balloon explosion kills 19 tourists in Egypt >

Your Voice
Readers Comments
    Submit a report
    Please help us understand how this comment violates our community guidelines.
    Thank you for the feedback
    Your feedback has been sent to our team for review.