Third Briton dies in balloon horror
A third Briton has died following the horrific hot air balloon crash in Egypt.
Tour operator Thomas Cook had earlier announced that two Britons had been killed and two more injured when the balloon plunged in flames to the ground in Luxor.
Shortly after 1pm on Tuesday the company said that one of the two injured Britons had since died. This took the total death toll to 19.
Witnesses described how they had seen tourists jumping from the balloon after it exploded at 1,000ft before crashing in fields. Bodies of the dead were scattered across the fields around the remnants of the balloon.
The two Britons who initially survived were thought to have been in a critical condition when they were taken to hospital with the only other survivor - the Egyptian pilot.
Initially announcing the two British deaths, 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." He said the company had a very experienced team in Luxor and that full support was being provided to the family and friends of those who had died.
Thomas Cook said it was working with local officials and a full investigation would be taking taking place. "While this investigation is under way, Thomas Cook UK has temporarily suspended sales of hot air balloon rides in Egypt," the company added. Thomas Cook UK has opened a hotline for concerned relatives who have guests in resort - 0800 107 5638.
Thomas Cook was giving no more details of those killed or injured, although it was thought that one of the dead Britons was an English male. The company has around 150 clients in the Luxor area at present. The company was not giving out any information about when the four Britons involved had started their holidays or what their package involved.
It is thought the one surviving Briton has been flown to hospital in Cairo more than 300 miles away. It was reported that this survivor had 70% burns. The two Britons who initially survived are believed to have been among nine in the balloon who had leapt to the ground as the fire began. The rest of the tourists are thought to have died in the explosion.
Konny Matthews, assistant manager of a Luxor's Al Moudira hotel, said she heard a boom at around 7am local time. She went on: "It was a huge bang. It was a frightening bang, even though it was several kilometres away from the hotel. Some of my employees said that their homes were shaking."