A couple of years ago, I took a flight at dawn in a hot air balloon over Cappadocia in Turkey. It was an unforgettably beautiful and thrilling experience, but you were always conscious that you were being kept in the air only by a roaring flame just above your head.
Unfortunately, something went horribly wrong on a flight 1,000 feet over Luxor in Egypt this morning, when a balloon caught fire, exploded and fell to the ground, killing up to 19 tourists. Two people are thought to have survived what may have been the deadliest balloon accident ever.
An eyewitness in another balloon reported seeing people jump out of the stricken craft. There are suggestions that it may have hit an overhead power line.
In 2009, another balloon came down over Luxor after hitting a communications tower, but accidents are mercifully rare. Until today, the deadliest ever was probably the mid-air collision over Alice Springs in Australia in 1989 which brought one balloon to earth with the loss of 13 lives.