Benjamin Reeves | February 26 2013 10:20 EST
Three tourists miraculously survived a deadly hot air balloon crash outside of Luxor, Egypt Tuesday. The hot air balloon fell 1,000 feet following what is believed to have been a gas explosion. Nineteen tourists died in the crash.
Dr. Khaled Khatib, head of Egypt's Ministry of Health confirmed that 18 had died in the explosion which took place during landing, according to Egypt's official government news agency, EGYnews. Khatib confirmed in a statement Monday that the dead included four Japanese tourists, nine Chinese, two French, a Hungarian and a citizen of the U.K. Another tourist who initially survived the crash died later in the day.
Three people survived the explosion and 1,000 foot fall. The survivors included one Egyptian and two U.K. citizens, although one of the Britons died later at the hospital. The survivors are being treated for third degree burns and multiple injuries and fractures. The two survivors will be transferred via air to the Nasser Institute Hospital in Cairo.
The Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a statement Tuesday expressing condolences for the families of the victims and emphasizing that the Egyptian government was taking the medical care of the survivors very seriously. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has also been in contact with the embassies of the tourists' countries.
Hot air balloon rides are a popular diversion for tourists in Egypt and are generally considered to be extremely safe. The hot air balloon rides allow tourists to see the Valley of the Kings from above. The last hot air balloon crash of similar deadliness occurred in Australia in 1989 when 13 were killed.
Hot air balloon rides in Egypt have been suspended by the government since the crash occurred, according to the Associated Press. Witnesses at the scene of the accident said they saw tourists jumping for their lives from the balloon.