4 die in hot air balloon crash

2009-10-14 08:35

Beijing - A hot air balloon crashed in a southern Chinese resort town on Wednesday, killing four Dutch tourists, state media said.

A fifth Dutch passenger and two Chinese balloon operators were injured in the accident on Wednesday morning near Yangshuo in the Guangxi region, the official Xinhua News Agency said.

Xinhua said the pilots lost control of the balloon shortly after take-off and it caught fire while about 150m above ground.

The report said three men and one woman were killed but did not give additional information about their identities.

Balloon tours of the area, which is famous for its dramatic limestone peaks, have become popular in the last few years.

A press officer with the Dutch Embassy in Beijing said the consulate in the southern city of Guangzhou had been informed of the accident and has sent staff to the scene. She was not immediately able to confirm the death toll or other details and asked that her name not be used in line with embassy policy.

- AP
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