Page last updated at 12:35 GMT, Wednesday, 14 October 2009 13:35 UK

Balloon crash in China kills four

Air balloon crash
The balloon crashed on a wooded hillside

A hot air balloon has exploded and crashed in southern China, killing four Dutch tourists and injuring three other people, state media say.

The balloon had only been in the air for about an hour, and was descending when it erupted into flames, the reports said.

The explosion is thought to have been triggered by a gas leak.

The crash occurred 30km (20 miles) south of Yangshuo in the southern province of Guangxi.

Five tourists from the Netherlands and two Chinese balloon pilots were on board.

It is thought that the four dead were two couples.

The three survivors are being treated at a local hospital for injuries sustained during the crash.

Ad Mayer, a spokesman for the Dutch foreign ministry, told the Associated Press that the group was believed to be on a tour of China.

An investigation into the accident is under way, Chinese state media say.

Balloon tours are a common tourist pastime in Yangshuo, a popular destination for both foreigners and Chinese, because of its dramatic mountainous scenery.

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