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Page last updated at 13:30 GMT, Sunday, 26 April 2009 14:30 UK

Egypt balloon crash hurts Britons

Two tourists, one with a leg in plaster
The injured tourists are being treated at Luxor International Hospital

Two British women injured when a hot air balloon crashed in Egypt remain in hospital, the UK Foreign Office has confirmed.

Three Egyptian operators and 13 foreign tourists were hurt when the balloon came down during a tour of the ancient city of Luxor.

Several people were taken to hospital with minor injuries after the balloon apparently hit a mobile phone mast.

It is the latest of several recent incidents involving balloons in Egypt.

A Foreign Office spokeswoman said: "Two Britons were confirmed injured.

"Their next of kin have been informed and we are providing consular assistance."

BBC correspondent Christian Fraser said he understood the balloon hit the communications tower on the west bank of the Nile, near the village of Gourna.

There were eight French tourists on board, along with the two Britons, a Canadian, a Dane and a Korean.

A fortnight ago seven tourists were injured in a similar crash.

In late February, three hot air balloons carrying 60 tourists crashed on the same day in separate locations. Seven passengers suffered injuries including broken bones.

Mr Fraser said: "The problem appears to be the number of balloon companies that are working in the area - all of them competing on price.

Map of Egypt
Every year thousands of British tourists visit Luxor, 430 miles south of Cairo

"So far there have been no deaths but in the past the government has been forced to ground the balloons while it investigates safety."

Debbie el Shobrakitty, who runs The Lantern restaurant in Luxor, told reporters that balloon trips were very popular with British visitors to the city."

Mrs el Shobrakitty, who is originally from Suffolk but moved to Egypt 22 years ago, said: "There have been one or two minor accidents in the past but on the whole they are very safe and are run by reputable companies."



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