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Aussies and Kiwis survive deadly balloon crash in Egypt

January 8, 2018 Headline News No Comments Email Email

Australians and New Zealanders, including a woman from NSW on a Top Deck tour, were aboard a hot-air balloon – with an allegedly unconscious pilot – when it crashed in Egypt on Friday, killing one of the passengers and injuring others.

The mother of one of several Australians aboard told the Seven Network a big gust of wind slammed into the craft, knocking the pilot unconscious while the balloon was in the air.

At least 12 people were injured when the balloon carrying foreign tourists crash-landed near the ancient Egyptian city of Luxor. A South African passenger died in the crash.

Above: the downed hot-air balloon

“The pilot was unconscious … so no-one was actually steering and operating this balloon so it was just plunging,” Lainie Drinkwater, mother of passenger Zoe Drinkwater, said.

Vanessa Condran, 31, from Lake Illawarra NSW, was also aboard.

Vanessa Condran at Pyramids near Cairo. Instagram

In a post to social media Condran reported: “I am alright – a few bumps and bruises. And probably will never set foot in another hot air balloon ever again. I feel lucky to have walked out of this traumatic experience, a scary freak accident”.

A day or so earlier Condran posted a picture near the Pyramids, saying she was having a wonderful time on her Top Deck tour. A former volunteer with a local Surf Life Saving Club, Condran used her first aid skills in vain to help the stricken South African man, the Illawarra Mercury reported.

Facebook comment above by Vanessa Condran from NSW, who was in the balloon

Four New Zealand travellers were also in the balloon. The Aussies and Kiwis seem to have come out of the crash better than some. An Egyptian health ministry spokesman said an Argentinian and two French tourists were being treated in hospital.

The accident, which happened as strong winds and sandstorms swept Egypt, will not help the country’s tourism industry, struggling to recover from terrorism, a military coup and the bombing of an aircraft.

Luxor, a city surrounded by ancient tombs and other historic sites, is a prime tourist draw.

Egypt has had several balloon crashes before. Luxor was the site of the worst hot-air balloon accident on record, in 2013, when a balloon burst into flames during a sunrise flight, crashed and killed 19 tourists.

In 2016, Egypt stopped balloon flights temporarily after 22 Chinese tourists suffered minor injuries in a crash landing.

Written by Peter Needham

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