When the world gets closer.

We help you see farther.

Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter.

Enjoy unlimited access to quality journalism.

Limited time offer

Get your 30-day free trial!

BBC NEWS (UK), AL-MASRY AL-YOUM (Egypt), AP

Worldcrunch

CAIRO – A hot air balloon caught fire and exploded as it was flying over the ancient Egyptian city of Luxor on Tuesday, killing at least 18 tourists.

The casualties included French, British, Japanese nationals and nine tourists from Hong Kong, a security official told AP.

[rebelmouse-image 27086345 alt="""" original_size="500x281" expand=1]

The crash happened on one of the many dawn hot air balloon flights that give tourists an aerial view of Luxor's famous sites - File photo: Dale Gillard

According to Egypt’s daily Al-Masry Al-Youm, the balloon which was carrying 21 tourists was flying over Luxor when it caught fire, which triggered an explosion in its gas canister. The balloon then plunged at least 1,000 feet and crashed in a cane field near ancient Egyptian sites in the famed Valley of the Kings.

Initial reports of 19 dead were revised to 18; two tourists and the Egyptian pilot of the hot air balloon survived the crash and were taken to a local hospital.

One witness told BBC News that people were jumping out of the balloon, "from about the height of a seven-story building".

The crash is yet another blow to an already crippled tourism industry in Egypt, with AP reporting that Luxor's hotels are currently about 25% full in what is supposed to be the peak of the winter season.

You've reached your limit of free articles.

To read the full story, start your free trial today.

Get unlimited access. Cancel anytime.

Exclusive coverage from the world's top sources, in English for the first time.

Insights from the widest range of perspectives, languages and countries.

Ideas

How U.S. Airlines Are Doing Cuba's Dirty Work On American Soil

American and Southwest Airlines have been refusing to allow Cubans on board flights if they've been blacklisted by the government in Havana.

How U.S. Airlines Are Doing Cuba's Dirty Work On American Soil

Boarding a plane in Camaguey, Cuba

Santiago Villa

On Sunday, American Airlines refused to let Cuban writer Carlos Manuel Álvarez board a Miami flight bound for Havana. It was at least the third time this year that a U.S. airline refused to let Cubans on board to return to their homeland after Havana circulated a government "blacklist" of critics of the regime. Clearly undemocratic and possibly illegal under U.S. law, the airlines want to make sure to cash in on a lucrative travel route, writes Colombian journalist Santiago Villa:

-OpEd-

Imagine for a moment that you left your home country years ago because you couldn't properly pursue your chosen career there. It wasn't easy, of course: Your profession is not just singularly demanding, but even at the top of the game you might not be assured a stable or sufficient income, and you've had to take on second jobs, working in bars and restaurants.

This chosen vocation is that of a writer or journalist, or perhaps an artist, which has kept you tied to your homeland, often the subject of your work, even if you don't live there anymore.

Since leaving, you've been back home several times, though not so much for work. Because if you did, you would be followed in cars and receive phone calls to let you know you are being watched.

Keep reading...Show less

You've reached your limit of free articles.

To read the full story, start your free trial today.

Get unlimited access. Cancel anytime.

Exclusive coverage from the world's top sources, in English for the first time.

Insights from the widest range of perspectives, languages and countries.

The latest