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Luxor balloon flights set to resume

By CNN Staff
April 17, 2013 -- Updated 1407 GMT (2207 HKT)
A file image of balloons flying over Luxor. One of Egypts top tourist draws, visitors go to see ancient temples and tombs.
A file image of balloons flying over Luxor. One of Egypts top tourist draws, visitors go to see ancient temples and tombs.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Flights set to resume Wednesday, according to statement
  • Balloon flights grounded since tragic February accident
  • Luxor is among Egypt's top tourist draws

(CNN) -- Hot air balloon rides at Egypt's popular tourist destination of Luxor are set to resume Wednesday, according to a statement on the Egyptian Civil Aviation Regulatory Commission's (CARC) website (Arabic).

President of the CARC, Mohamed Ibrahim Sherif, confirmed balloon flights would restart, the Egypt Independent reported.

Hot air balloon rides were banned in Luxor after a February 26 accident that killed 19 tourists.

Preliminary investigations suggested that gas canisters aboard the balloon exploded, causing it to plummet about 1,000 feet (300 meters) to the ground.

Tourism takes a hit in Egypt
Tourists killed in balloon blast

It was the world's deadliest hot air balloon accident in at least 20 years.

Read more: Balloon crash kills 19

Sky Cruise, the company involved, remains banned from operation pending further investigation. All Ultramagic N-425 balloons, the model of balloon in the accident, are also still grounded, according to a translation of the statement.

In addition, hot air balloons in operation will be subject to inspection and companies will have to follow new mandatory regulations.

Read more: How safe is hot air ballooning?

According to the statement, all pilots, engineers and ground crew will need to undertake hazardous situation and extra safety training.

Passengers will also be required to sign liability documents stating they understand they are flying at their own risk.

Read more: Balloon disaster 'blow' for tourism

Luxor is among Egypt's top tourist draws. Visitors go to see ancient temples and tombs, and travel sites often recommend hot air balloon trips.

Balloon rides offering panoramic aerial views of the Nile River and the ancient temples of Karnak and Hatshepsut are a popular tourist attraction in Luxor, about a nine-hour drive southeast of Cairo.

Read more: Vacationers recall glorious balloon rides

Qin Xie contributed to this report.

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