Luxor balloon flights set to resume
POSTED: Monday, April 22, 2013 - 4:00am
UPDATED: Monday, April 22, 2013 - 4:04am
CNN — Hot air balloon rides at Egypt's popular tourist destination of Luxor are set to resume Wednesday, according to a statement on the Egyptian Civil Aviation Regulatory Commission's (CARC) website (Arabic).
President of the CARC, Mohamed Ibrahim Sherif, confirmed balloon flights would restart, the Egypt Independent reported.
Hot air balloon rides were banned in Luxor after a February 26 accident that killed 19 tourists.
Preliminary investigations suggested that gas canisters aboard the balloon exploded, causing it to plummet about 1,000 feet (300 meters) to the ground.
It was the world's deadliest hot air balloon accident in at least 20 years.
Sky Cruise, the company involved, remains banned from operation pending further investigation. All Ultramagic N-425 balloons, the model of balloon in the accident, are also still grounded, according to a translation of the statement.
In addition, hot air balloons in operation will be subject to inspection and companies will have to follow new mandatory regulations.
According to the statement, all pilots, engineers and ground crew will need to undertake hazardous situation and extra safety training.
Passengers will also be required to sign liability documents stating they understand they are flying at their own risk.
Luxor is among Egypt's top tourist draws. Visitors go to see ancient temples and tombs, and travel sites often recommend hot air balloon trips.
Balloon rides offering panoramic aerial views of the Nile River and the ancient temples of Karnak and Hatshepsut are a popular tourist attraction in Luxor, about a nine-hour drive southeast of Cairo.