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P_M Feb 26th, 2013 09:58 AM

Balloon accident in Egypt--19 dead

Axel2DP Feb 26th, 2013 10:43 AM

Such sad news. Prayers for the families and victims.

Percy Feb 26th, 2013 11:11 AM

One of the reason I Never took a balloon ride when I was there.

How tragic can this be.
Family members reading this, you have a deepest sympathy.

Casual_Cairo Feb 26th, 2013 11:46 AM

Over the years I've taken 3 different balloon rides and always was given a safety talk on the way to the balloon by our captain and crew, and I've always felt safe.
This is SUCH a sad day for all involved from the passengers, their families and the companies and future tourists that will be affected by this accident. :(

rkkwan Feb 27th, 2013 06:50 AM

Headline story on all newspapers in Hong Kong this morning, as 9 of the dead were part of a tour group from HK.

BostonHarbor Feb 27th, 2013 12:27 PM

I backed out of a balloon ride in Luxor just before they were loading people in the balloon. It was pretty windy, there were a bunch of young guys in a dark field putting up mylar balloons and looking at each other deciding whether to go up or not. Everyone looked a bit rag-tag and disorganized (this could have just been the company that I was with--I can't speak for other companies). I decided to sit it out and go back to the boat. So I lost a hundred bucks. I felt very uncomfortable about getting on the balloon--and with all the travel I do, I try always to go with my gut.

Compared to the balloon ride I took in Cappadocia, there simply is no comparison. In Turkey you feel you are taking off from JFK with all the planning, crash drills, and warnings that they might not take off unless conditions are perfect.

But, accidents happen. Balloons have also crashed with fatalities in the US and Canada. You need to control the variables you can and not going up in Luxor because it didn't feel right was the variable I decided to control.

Note: I LOVE Egypt--I am not in any way trying to trash Egyptian tourism. Go and have fun, but skip the balloon ride. They are dealing with a lot of other things right now. Balloon safety is probably not on the top of their priority list. Until two days ago.

MD Mar 1st, 2013 09:15 PM

We took a balloon flight last April in Luxor. We loved it. There have been various comments about disorganized, unsafe, or pilot error in the media but I have to say - the flight we had in Luxor was pretty much perfect. I was incredibly impressed by the pilot's skill. We came down over a field just down and across the road from the Collossi of Memnon. When we were about 5 feet off the ground, the pilot just held us at that height with short bursts as the breeze carried us over to the rail embankment at the side of the field. Considering how slow the feedback cycle is with a giant hot air balloon, that is an amazing feat of skilled piloting to stay perfectly level.

Once at our landing spot, the balloon was held by ground crew while the pilot released the top vent, and after we got out, they guided the ballon collapse onto a big tarp spread on the ground so there would be no snags or tears. Everybody seemed organized and professional.

Accidents happen. A few years ago, Canada saw two serious balloon accidents in a row, despite first world safety controls. I saw nothing that suggested to me our tour's Luxor crew was lax; in fact, the first morning we tried, they would not launch because visibility was still not up to legal requirements (6km visibility), a haze issue due to a sandstorm a few days before.

So I do feel especially for the people who died. It was horrific and very sad. Not to diminish that, but I also have sympathy for all the people who work in the tourism industry and did not need another blow to scare away their chance to earn a livlihood. It is a marvellous place and people should visit.

Favor Mar 2nd, 2013 08:43 AM

Last time I was in Luxor we used Viking. They were as professional and conscientious as any other crew I've seen in the USA. And as a bonus we had a celebratory musical interlude after we were all on the ground and the balloon was stowed.

I too am sorry for the people who lost their lives in this tragedy and also for the folks who lost, hopefully only temporarily, their livelihood. People will harken back to this event and not take the balloon trips which support a lot of workers.

Cateyes555 Mar 2nd, 2013 03:11 PM

Here's a follow up story that should give one pause when considering a balloon ride in this region....

Casual_Cairo Mar 3rd, 2013 12:31 AM

The worst part of that article Cateyes555 is talking about ballooning in Turkey. As far as I know, there are still plenty of British pilots flying in Luxor.

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