French and Indian tourists killed in hot air balloon crash in Dubai


Dubai – Two tourists – an Indian and a French – were killed when a hot air balloon carrying them crashed in Al Ain desert in the UAE due to bad weather.

The air balloon carrying a total of 14 passengers and crew crashed at 6.20 am (local time) near Suwaihan, a village surrounded by farms and date plantations about 72 km south of Dubai, the General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) in a statement.

It said two people — an Indian and a French – were killed and one person injured.

The GCAA, however, did not disclose their identity.

It said an investigation team was already at the accident site and had begun its initial probe.

The balloon was operated by Balloon Adventures Emirates, said the sightseeing company’s director, Peter Kollar.

He said passengers were taken to the hospital in Al Ain, a nearby oasis city on the border with Oman.

Kollar said a sudden change of wind struck the balloon as it came in to land.

“It was a freak wind change,” Kollar was quoted as saying by the Associated Press. “The balloon did not fall out of the sky. It happened at landing.”

He said one of the company’s pilots was at the helm, but did not have information about those killed and injured. He said the company was working with local investigators.

Dubai-based Balloon Adventures operates early morning desert sightseeing trips from a launch site in the remote area near where the crash occurred.