Sinan Korkmazer / Nevşehir, June 26 () - Eighteen tourists on board a hot air balloon were wounded in Turkey’s Cappadocia region, after the balloon crashed into an electricity wire and its engine burst into flames.
The accident occurred in the Üzengi Valley in Cappadocia, a region in central Turkey famous for its distinctive cone shaped rock formations, where the balloon crashed into an electricity wire and had to make an emergency landing.
During the hard landing compressed gas leaked from the balloon’s cylinders, causing its engine to burst into flames.
Nevşehir provincial health director Rahim Ünlübay said the balloon was carrying 20 people, eighteen of whom were wounded and taken to nearby hospitals to receive treatment for their burns.
“We have transferred everyone to hospitals. Six people are receiving treatment at the state hospital, seven at a private hospital and five at other hospitals. All are in a stable condition, noone is seriously wounded. However, the pilot’s injuries are first degree burns on his arms and head” Ünlübay said.
Reports indicate that all on board the balloon were foreign tourists: Fourteen Chinese citizens, one Brazilian, two Greeks and two people from the United States.
Meanwhile, the Nevşehir branch of Turkey’s directorate of civil aviation and the gendarmerie have launched an investigation into the incident.
According to Turkish daily Dünya, the hot air balloon sector is fast growing in Cappadocia, with 14 percent of the region’s $600 million annual tourism revenue being generated by 195 balloon companies.
In May 2013, three Brazilian tourists were killed after two balloons collided during a tour of the region.