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Hot air balloon tragedy

View profile for Kate Sweeney
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I was very saddened to hear the news about the hot air balloon tragedy yesterday.

In 2010, I went backpacking and one of my destinations was Egypt. I had always wanted to go on a hot air balloon ride and the advertisements in Luxor were rife with various different companies fighting for your custom.

On the day of my hot air balloon ride, I felt safe and the workers on the balloon made the experience very exciting and a wonderful experience for me. However, as a traveller and someone who was there purely to enjoy the experience, it is only after hearing of this terrible tragedy that we think more of health and safety and the different standards in various countries.

It is easy for people to assume that health and safety in other countries is the same as in the UK. In actual fact, this is not the case and health and safety in other countries is governed by its own standards.

Sadly, the balloon is believed to have caught fire as it was coming to land at about 7am on Tuesday. The pilot and a British passenger jumped out before the balloon descended swiftly for 1,000 feet. Flames spread quickly which ignited a gas canister and caused an explosion.

Witnesses described seeing people leaping out of the balloon as it was on fire. The casualties included British, French, Belgian, Hungarian and Japanese nationals and nine tourists from Hong Kong. Egyptian authorities have launched an official investigation due to the accident.

I wish to offer my condolences to the families affected by this disaster.

By Tara Lever

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