Four people held after Egypt balloon crash

January 07, 2018

Australians were among those injured in a hot air crash near the ancient city of Luxor in Egypt.

Egyptian prosecutors have ordered the detention of four people over the hot air balloon crash that killed a South African tourist and injured at least 12 others, including a number of Australians.

Saturday's decision 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-owning 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 incident occurred on Friday when strong winds forced the balloon, carrying 20 tourists, off course above the southern city of Luxor.

Four French nationals, two South Africans, two Argentinians and a Brazilian were also among those injured.

The mother of one of the Australians onboard says the pilot was knocked out while the balloon was in the air.

Zoe Drinkwater 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."

Egypt's Civil Aviation Ministry said other balloons carrying over 400 tourists had taken off and landed safely on Friday.

Balloon flights were resumed on Saturday.

Luxor has a history of hot air balloon crashes. The deadliest was in 2013 when at least 19 foreign tourists were killed when theirs caught fire.

Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade is providing consular assistance to "several Australians" involved in the incident.

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