Turkish hot air balloon crash: Chinese tourist killed, Malaysians injured

Turkish hot air balloon crash: Chinese tourist killed, Malaysians injured

PETALING JAYA - A Malaysian is reportedly in critical condition following a hot air balloon crash over the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Cappadocia in the Central Anatolia Region of Turkey.

The Malaysian Embassy in Ankara told The Star that all together five Malaysians were injured in the crash, which claimed the life of a Chinese national.

"One is critical, the rest suffered injuries but we cannot confirm how serious they are. They are being taken to Versa Hospital in Nevsehir for treatment," an embassy official said.

Officials are now travelling to Cappadocia from Ankara, and are expected to arrive there at about 9pm (Malaysian time).

AFP reported that the Malaysians were among nine tourists on the hot air balloon, as part of a tour package being run by Malaysians.

The accident occurred over the famed sculpted rock formations of Cappadocia in the Guvercinlik Valley of Nevsehir province, Dogan news agency reported.

The balloon went down for a yet unknown reason, it added.

A Chinese tourist, identified as Tang Yi, died on the spot while nine other tourists, all of them believed to be Chinese and Malaysian nationals, were hospitalised for fractures and broken bones, Dogan said.

A Malaysian tourist in serious condition is being treated in hospital, it added.

Security forces and ambulances were dispatched to the area. An investigation is underway to determine the cause of the crash.

Ballooning has become increasingly popular in recent years in Turkey although there have been repeated concerns about safety standards.

Several companies offer hot-air balloon rides over Cappadocia, which is a major tourist attraction with its cone-shaped rock formations, rock-carved underground cities and early Christian churches.

Three Brazilian tourists visiting Turkey were killed in May 2013 when two hot air balloons collided above Cappadocia.

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