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Balloon crash kills tourists in Cappadocia, Turkey

Posted on 20th May 2013 at 15:06pm

Two tourists have been killed and more than 20 other people injured after two hot-air balloons collided in Turkey, a local official says.

One ascending balloon was torn open as it hit the basket of another, and then plunged to Earth, witnesses said.

The accident happened in Cappadocia, a region popular with tourists for its spectacular volcanic rock formations.

At least one dead victim is reported to be Brazilian. Turkey's civil aviation agency says it has launched an inquiry.

Among the questions considered is likely to be whether too many balloons are taking to the skies in Cappadocia.

In 2009, a British tourist was killed and nine other people were injured in a balloon collision.

One tourist, E Wayne Ross, said he was aboard one of about 100 balloons which had taken off early on Monday morning.

"I didn't see the actual collision, as the balloon in question was higher than us," he told the BBC.

"I saw the balloon start descending very rapidly about 200m away in front of us. We were flying toward it and then flew right over it.

"It was quite obvious that there was a gash or tear in the balloon where air was escaping from."

Broken bones

Cappadocia, in central Anatolia, is famed for its "fairy chimney" volcanic cones, subterranean cities carved out of soft stone and early Christian churches.

Ballooning has become a popular tourist business in the region over the past decade.

The passengers on board the doomed flight were mostly tourists from Brazil, Argentina and Spain, according to Abdurrahman Savas, the governor of Nevsehir province, who visited the injured in hospital.

He announced that a second person had died, after earlier reports said one Brazilian man had been killed.

Many of the injured had broken bones.

The accident follows one in February, when a balloon caught fire and crashed in Egypt, killing 19 tourists.

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Reproduced under licence from BBC News © 2013 BBC

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