Egypt halts hot air ballooning in Luxor after incident

Strong winds took 11 tourists off course Thursday and forced them to land in the country's southern desert.
Friday 21/06/2019
This picture taken on January 31, 2019 shows a hot air balloon flying over the southern Egyptian city of Luxor, about 650 kilometres (400 miles) south of the capital Cairo. (AFP)
This picture taken on January 31, 2019 shows a hot air balloon flying over the southern Egyptian city of Luxor, about 650 kilometres (400 miles) south of the capital Cairo. (AFP)

LUXOR - Egypt has suspended hot air ballooning rides over ancient sites in Luxor after strong winds took 11 tourists off course the day before and forced them to land in the country's southern desert.

Local authorities said on Friday the rides would not resume until an investigation is completed.

The tourists — five Indians, four Chinese, a British and an Egyptian — were ballooning over ancient temples when the strong winds blew them westward into the desert. Their pilot managed to regain control of the balloon and they eventually landed safely.

Egyptian officials say ballooning companies are being inspected for adherence to safety measures. The official spoke on condition of anonymity under regulations.

Hot air ballooning over Luxor is popular, with balloons taking nearly 360 tourists over the city every day.

(Associated Press)