Thomas Cook clients killed in Luxor balloon crash

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The CEO of Thomas Cook UK Peter Frankhauser has confirmed that two of its clients were killed in the Luxor balloon crash this morning – while another two were taken to hospital, where one later died.

Egypt Holiday Accident

According to a media report, a Luxor health official has said that the balloon crash is thought to have killed a total of 19 tourists, including two holidaymakers from France, nine from Hong Kong, and four from Japan. The source said a further two victims of the balloon crash had yet to be identified.

The balloon is though to have been flying at around 1,000 feet when it caught fire and exploded above the West Bank in the popular resort of Luxor and landed in a field.

Thomas Cook has set up a phone line (0800 107 5638) for relatives seeking information about loved ones currently on holiday in Egypt. The tour operator is working closely with the UK’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the authorities in Egypt.

Peter Frankhauser said:

"What happened in Luxor this morning is a terrible tragedy and the thoughts of everyone in Thomas Cook are with our guests, their family and friends.

"We have a very experienced team in resort with the two guests in the local hospital, and we're providing our full support to the family and friends of the deceased at this difficult time."

This is the second balloon tragedy in recent years in Luxor – British tourists were seriously injured in 2009, when a balloon caught fire as it took off from the West Bank and dropped 30 feet to the ground, scattering passengers as it fell.

Details of today’s tragedy are still unfolding but Thomas Cook has suspended balloon flights in Luxor until further investigations have taken place. The tour operator said that it had promoted balloon flights offered by “reputable” operators to its clients.

Following the Luxor balloon crash in April 2009, the Civil Aviation Authority in Egypt imposed a six-month suspension on balloon flights in Luxor and tightened up regulation, as well as training all 42 pilots. The balloon flights eventually resumed in November 2009 and are one of the most popular ways for tourists to see Luxor.

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