Hot Air Balloon Crash in Egypt Kills 18 Foreigners

In this photo from Friday, Nov. 23, 2012, tourists wait their turns to ascend in hot air balloons before sunrise in Luxor, Egypt. A hot air balloon flying over Egypt's ancient city of Luxor caught fire and crashed into a sugar cane field outside al-Dhabaa village, on Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2013.
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Luxor's hotels are currently about 25 percent full in what is supposed to be the peak of the winter season.

Scared off by the political turmoil and tenuous security that has followed the uprising, the number of tourists coming to Egypt fell to 9.8 million in 2011 from 14.7 million the year before, and revenues plunged 30 percent to $8.8 billion.

Poverty swelled at the country's fastest rate in Luxor, which is highly dependent on visitors to its monumental temples and the tombs of King Tutankhamun and other pharaohs. In 2011, 39 percent of its population lived on less than $1 a day, compared to 18 percent in 2009, according to government figures.

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Associated Press writers Kelvin Chan in Hong Kong, Jill Lawless in London and Angela Charlton in Paris contributed to this report.

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