Egypt to widen probe into fatal balloon crash

Associated Press
Japanese travel agent Okumura Hatsuko, bottom right, and Luxor's Govornor Ezzat Saad, bottom left, lay flowers to pay respect to Japanese tourists that died from a hot air balloon accident, in Luxor, Egypt, Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2013. A hot air balloon carrying tourists over Egypt's ancient city of Luxor caught fire on Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2013 and some passengers trying to escape the flames leaped to their deaths before the craft crashed in a sugar cane field. At least 19 tourists were killed in one of the world's deadliest ballooning accidents. (AP Photo/Nasser Nasser)

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CAIRO (AP) — Egypt's lead investigator says countries of some of the victims of the deadly balloon crash in Luxor have asked to join the probe.

Walid el-Moqadem said Thursday that Hong Kong, Britain, Japan and Hungary will not be sending investigators so far. He says they have been granted an advisory role and will for now be appraised of progress through emails.

Nineteen foreign tourists died when their hot air balloon caught fire and plummeted about 1,000 feet to the ground on Tuesday in southern Egypt.

Initial reports say the balloon was in the process of landing when a cable got caught around a gas tube and a fire erupted.

He says Egyptian investigators are currently collecting and documenting data. A separate criminal investigation is under way to rule out foul play.

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