Authorities say two people were killed and more than 20 others were injured Monday when two hot air balloons collided mid-air during a sightseeing tour in Turkey.
According to CNN, the crash occurred in Turkey’s popular tourist destination of Cappadocia, a region famous for its chimney rocks, cave houses, underground cities, and balloon trips.
The Associated Press said an ascending balloon hit the wicker basket of another balloon, ripping a hole in the balloon’s fabric and sending it crashing to the ground.
Witnesses confirmed the reports and said and the crash occurred some 45 minutes after as many as 100 balloons had taken off for the Monday early morning tour.
“It was probably some 300 meters in the air and it descended increasingly rapidly to the ground. There was a large tear in the fabric, probably some 10 to 15 meters long,” said one witness, who was in the air in a balloon just 200 yards away from the accident.
“We could hear the radio chatter and we knew something was happening. There was a frantic urgent transmission: `Release your parachute! Release your parachute!”
The two dead passengers — aged 65 and 71 — are both thought to be Brazilian tourists.
The injured passengers — also tourists from Brazil, Argentina and Spain — were taken to hospitals for treatment of broken bones they suffered during the crash.
Following the incident, 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.
Here is a video of Monday’s hot air balloon crash in Turkey:
Monday’s balloon crash in Turkey comes three months after a hot air balloon caught fire and crashed in Luxor, Egypt, killing 19 people.
In the wake of that deadly accident crash, the governor of the region ordered a ban on all flights in the city.