Hot air ballooning in Luxor
Hot air ballooning in Luxor is an aspect of the Egyptian tourist industry. Tour companies offer rides in hot air balloons to tourists who enjoy views of ancient Thebes, the temple complexes of Karnak and Luxor, the Valley of the Kings and the Valley of the Queens. A series of hot air balloon accidents have called the industry's safety record into question.
Following a 2009 crash, balloon flights at Luxor were suspended for six months while pilots were given additional training and safety measures were reviewed and improved. New regulations limited the number of balloons that could be aloft simultaneously, and restricted take-offs to a new airfield for the sole use of hot air balloons.
As of January 2018, eight companies operate a combined total of 25 hot air balloons offering flights over Luxor.
Accidents and incidents
The overall safety record of hot air ballooning in Egypt is poor. Seven tourists were injured in a crash early in 2009. On a single day in February 2009, three separate hot air balloons crashed in different locations carrying a total of 60 tourists, resulting in injuries that included broken bones.
At Luxor, eight tourists were injured in 2007 when the balloon in which they were riding crash-landed in a field. Four Scottish tourists, were seriously injured in April 2008 when the balloon in which they were traveling crash-landed. Sixteen tourists were injured at Luxor in April 2009 when the balloon in which they were traveling is understood to have collided with a cell phone transmission tower.
After 22 Chinese tourists were injured in a 2016 balloon crash, the Civil Aviation Ministry suspended flights for three days while safety procedures were reviewed.
Fifteen tourists were injured and one man from South Africa was killed in Luxor in 2018 when high winds caused a balloon's operator to lose control. Flights were suspended until the unusually high winds subsided.
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