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Two Britons killed in balloon crash
Two Britons have been killed and two others are in hospital after an horrific hot air balloon crash in Egypt which has claimed a reported 18 lives.
The four Britons were on holiday with tour operator Thomas Cook.
They were among more than 20 people who were in the balloon which exploded at 1,000ft and crashed to the ground in flames in Luxor.
Thomas Cook said: "We are working closely with the Foreign Office and the authorities in Egypt and we can confirm that two of our guests are in local hospitals, but tragically two of our guests have died in the hot air balloon incident in Luxor, Egypt, this morning."
Thomas Cook UK and Europe chief executive Peter Fankhauser said: "What happened in Luxor this morning is a terrible tragedy and the thoughts of everyone in Thomas Cook are with our guests, their family and friends. We have a very experienced team in resort with the two guests in the local hospital, and we're providing our full support to the family and friends of the deceased at this difficult time."
The company said that it was working with local officials and a full investigation would be taking place. The company added: "While this investigation is under way, Thomas Cook UK has temporarily suspended sales of hot air balloon rides in Egypt."
Thomas Cook UK has opened a hotline for concerned relatives who have guests in the resort - 0800 107 5638.
Cherry Tohamy, an Egyptian living in Kuwait who was on holiday in Luxor, was in another balloon which was landing when she heard an explosion and saw flames from a balloon above. She told the BBC: "Our pilot told us that the balloon had hit a high pressure electrical cable and a cylinder on board exploded. People were jumping out of the balloon from about the height of a seven-storey building."
She said ambulances were at the scene within 15 minutes. Other victims are thought to have come from Hong Kong, Japan and France.
The balloon came down in sugar cane fields. Witnesses described hearing a loud explosion before seeing plumes of smoke as the balloon caught fire.