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2nd tourist dies in Turkey balloon crash

20 May 2013, 18:41

Istanbul - A Brazilian and a Spanish tourist died on Monday and 23 other people were hurt after two hot-air balloons collided in central Turkey, officials said.

The accident occurred over Cappadocia's sculpted rock formations when one balloon collided with the basket of another balloon above and crashed to the ground, the governor of Nevsehir province, Abdurrahman Savas, told Anatolia news agency.

"The lower balloon was torn and fell quickly," he said, citing witness accounts.

Savas said a Brazilian man had been killed, while most of the injured suffered broken bones.

A provincial official added later that one of the passengers had succumbed to his injuries.

"A Spanish tourist who was seriously injured died in hospital," the local official, who did not wish to be named, said.

Ballooning has become increasingly popular in recent years in Turkey, particularly in the Cappadocia region.

Several companies offer hot-air balloon rides over Cappadocia, which is a major tourist attraction with its cone-shaped rock formations, rock-carved underground cities and early Christian churches.

The owner of the hot-air balloon that went down said he was "shocked" by the tragedy but said the pilot had taken all the necessary safety measures. "These types of flights have been happening safely in Cappadocia for 20 years," Halil Uluer was quoted as saying by Anatolia news agency.

The accident in Cappadocia occurred around three months after a balloon exploded in Luxor, Egypt, killing 19 people on 26 February.

In 2009, a British tourist was also killed in a balloon crash during a tour of the Cappadocia region.


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