Australians among 20 involved in fatal hot air balloon crash
SEVEN Australians have survived a hot air balloon crash in Egypt which killed at least one person, and knocked out the pilot before they crashed.
Egyptian prosecutors have ordered the detention of four people includes the balloon's pilot, the director of the airport from which it took off in in western Luxor and two officials from the balloon company.
The arrested suspects were to remain in custody for at least four days while the authorities conduct an investigation into the accident, the state-run MENA news agency reported.
The mother of one of the Australians onboard the balloon that crashed and killed a South African tourist says the pilot was knocked out while the balloon was in the air.
A number of Australians were among at least 12 people injured when a hot air balloon carrying foreign tourists over Egypt's ancient city of Luxor crash-landed.
Zoe Drinkwater, 22, from Newcastle was one of those onboard, according to the Seven Network, who spoke to her mother on Saturday.
"As they were coming in to land there was a big gust of wind that came up which then consequently knocked out the pilot," Lainie Drinkwater said.
"The pilot was unconscious ... so no-one was actually steering and operating this balloon so it was just plunging."
There were strong winds on Friday in Luxor which is home to some of Egypt's most famous pharaonic temples and tombs.
The balloon took off at sunrise and flew for 45 minutes at an altitude of 450 metres before the pilot lost control over a mountainous area, Egyptian officials have said, adding the pilot was injured.
Ms Drinkwater was also with Vanessa Condran, 31, from the Illawarra, Montanna Leveque, 20, and River Kano, 21, from Melbourne and Emma Forster, 24, from Alice Springs.
Ms Condran wrote on social media that she was fine, but would never go in a hot air balloon again.
"I am alright - a few bumps and bruises," she wrote.
"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."
They were also with Adele Jayde from Melbourne and Morgan Adams from Victoria.
In an Instagram post, Ms Jayde wrote: "I assume everyone has heard about the balloon accident in Luxor by now. I don't really have the energy or a coherent thought process to write down my full emotions about it but I am extremely thankful and blessed that myself and my travel companions on this tour all managed to come out of it alive, with only minor injuries, as others in the basket with us weren't so lucky. I am also extremely grateful for the friends we've made on this tour for being absolutely wonderful and looking after one another.
Also thankful for Topdeck and our tour leader for being amazing and helpful throughout the whole ordeal."
Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade is providing consular assistance to "several Australians" involved in the incident.
I assume everyone has heard about the balloon accident in Luxor by now. I don’t really have the energy or a coherent thought process to write down my full emotions about it but I am extremely thankful and blessed that myself and my travel companions on this tour all managed to come out of it alive, with only minor injuries, as others in the basket with us weren’t so lucky. I am also extremely grateful for the friends we’ve made on this tour for being absolutely wonderful and looking after one another. Also thankful for Topdeck and our tour leader for being amazing and helpful throughout the whole ordeal. ❤️
An official statement from the Luxor governorate confirmed 12 people were injured.
The balloon was carrying 20 tourists on a Topdeck tour.
Egypt's Civil Aviation Authority and a hot-air balloon company referred to the incident as a hard landing and is investigating the crash.
Strong winds forced the balloon, which was carrying 20 people, off course above the southern city, home to some of Egypt's most famous Pharaonic temples and tombs.
The balloon took off around sunrise local time (Friday, 3pm AEDT) and flew about 45 minutes at an altitude of 450 meters before the pilot lost control over a mountainous area, the officials said, adding that the pilot was among those injured.
They said other balloons had taken off around the same time but landed safely.
The officials spoke on condition of anonymity in line with regulations.
Other passengers were French, Brazilian, South African, Argentine and Spanish tourists.
The state-run MENA news agency, citing Egypt's health minister, said all those wounded have been treated except for three who are currently undergoing operations.
Earlier in the day, Egypt's meteorological service had warned of strong winds across the country mainly in the Nile River Delta and northern Egypt.
Luxor has a history of hot air balloon crashes.
The deadliest took place in 2013 when a balloon flying over the city caught fire and plunged about 305 meters (1,000 feet), crashing into a sugar cane field and killing at least 19 foreign tourists.