EL CAIRO (AP) — Las autoridades continuaban el miércoles con las investigaciones sobre la causa del incendio de un globo aerostático en pleno vuelo que dejó 19 turistas muertos, mientras los familiares de algunas de las víctimas procedentes de Asia y Occidente llegaban al país para identificar los restos.

Los 19 turistas perecieron el martes, cuando el globo aerostático en que observaban las ruinas arqueológicas de la ciudad se incendió y cayó desde una altura de 300 metros (1.000 pies) en Luxor, en el sur de Egipto. Un turista británico sobrevivió además del piloto egipcio del globo, quien sufrió quemaduras de gravedad.

El principal investigador Walid el-Moqadem dijo que la pesquisa se encontraba en la etapa de recolección de información y documentación sobre el accidente de Luxor. Indicó a The Associated Press que el piloto que sufrió heridas de gravedad estaba en El Cairo y las autoridades no habían podido interrogarlo aún.

"Apenas puede abrir los ojos", aseveró el-Moqadem, en una entrevista telefónica desde Luxor.

De acuerdo con reportes preliminares, el globo volaba que sobre Luxor, 510 kilómetros (320 millas) al sur del Cairo, efectuaba la maniobra de aterrizaje después de las siete de la mañana cuando un cable para el descenso se atoró con un tubo de gas y sobrevino el incendio

Un investigador dijo en el lugar inicialmente que el cable se atracó alrededor de un tubo de helio, pero el-Moqadem afirmó que no había tubos de helio, sólo cuatro tubos de gas combustible. El combustible alimenta la llama de la góndola que caliente el aire en el globo, permitiendo el ascenso.

Cuando comenzó el incendio, el globo ascendió, luego el fuego consumió al globo y cayó desde una altura de 300 metros (1.000 pies) sobre una plantación de caña de azúcar. Los cadáveres de los turistas quedaron diseminados sobre el campo en medio de los restos del globo.

El-Moqadem indicó que era prematuro determinar qué provocó el incendio y no iba a dar más detalles.

Entre las víctimas había nueve turistas de Hong Kong, cuatro japoneses —incluida una pareja de unos 60 años— y otros dos británicos, dijeron funcionarios egipcios y las autoridades de turismo de los países de donde procedían los afectados.

Un funcionario del aeropuerto, que pidió que se le mantuviera anónimo por carecer de autorización para dar declaraciones, dijo que los familiares de nueve turistas procedentes de Hong Kong llegaron a El Cairo a fin de identificar los restos de las víctimas.

Los restos de todos fueron trasladados el martes a depósitos de cadáveres de El Cairo. Los dos sobrevivientes estaban en hospitales militares.

Los vuelos en globo de aire caliente son un atractivo ordinario para los turistas en Luxor; por lo general, se efectúan a la salida del sol para obtener una vista panorámica impactante de los templos faraónicos de Karnak y Luxor y el Valle de los Reyes, un valle desértico donde fueron sepultados muchos faraones, incluido el notable Tutankamón.

Luxor ha sido escenario de accidentes similares. En el 2009, 16 turistas resultaron lesionados cuando el globo en el que iban golpeó una torre de telefonía celular.

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  • In this Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2013, image taken from video obtained from Al Jazeera, which has been authenticated based on its contents and other AP reporting, Smoke rises from a hot air balloon after it burst in a flash of flame and then plummeted about 1,000 feet to earth carrying sightseers on a sunrise flight over the ancient city of Luxor, 510 kilometers (320 miles) south of Cairo, Egypt. Nineteen people were killed on Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2013 in what appeared to be the deadliest hot air ballooning accident on record. The balloon was carrying 20 tourists from France, Britain, Belgium, Japan, Hong Kong, and an Egyptian pilot. (AP Photo/ Al Jazeera via AP video)

  • In this Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2013, image taken from video obtained from Al Jazeera, which has been authenticated based on its contents and other AP reporting, smoke rises from a hot air balloon after it burst in a flash of flame and then plummeted about 1,000 feet to earth carrying sightseers on a sunrise flight over the ancient city of Luxor, 510 kilometers (320 miles) south of Cairo, Egypt. Nineteen people were killed on Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2013 in what appeared to be the deadliest hot air ballooning accident on record. The balloon was carrying 20 tourists from France, Britain, Belgium, Japan, Hong Kong, and an Egyptian pilot. (AP Photo/ Al Jazeera via AP video)

  • Un agente de viajes japonés Okumura Hatsuko, derecha del primer plano, y el gobernador de Luxor Ezzat Saad, a la izquierda, depositan ofrendas florales en memoria de los turistas japoneses fallecidos en el accidente del globo aerostático en Luxor, Egipto, el miércoles 27 de febrero del 2013. Diecinueve turistas perecieron el martes 26 de febrero del 2013, cuando el globo aerostático en que observaban las ruinas arqueológicas de la ciudad, se incendió y cayó desde una altura de 300 metros (1.000 pies) en Luxor, en el sur de Egipto. Un turista británico sobrevivió además del piloto egipcio del globo, quien sufrió quemaduras de gravedad.(Foto AP/Nasser Nasser)

  • An Egyptian paramedic evacuates the body of a slain foreign tourist to be transferred to Cairo, at the morgue of the Luxor International Hospital, in Luxor, Egypt, Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2013. A hot air balloon flying over Egypt's ancient city of Luxor caught fire and crashed into a sugar cane field on Tuesday, killing at least 19 foreign tourists in one of the world's deadliest ballooning accidents and handing a new blow to Egypt's ailing tourism industry. (AP Photo/Nasser Nasser)

  • An Egyptian paramedic evacuates the body of a slain foreign tourist to be transferred to Cairo, at the morgue of the Luxor International Hospital, in Luxor, Egypt, Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2013. A hot air balloon flying over Egypt's ancient city of Luxor caught fire and crashed into a sugar cane field on Tuesday, killing at least 19 foreign tourists in one of the world's deadliest ballooning accidents and handing a new blow to Egypt's ailing tourism industry. Arabic on the wall reads, "we will all return to God, there no God but Allah, and Muhammed is his prophet." (AP Photo/Nasser Nasser)

  • Egyptian paramedics evacuate the body of a slain foreign tourist to be transferred to Cairo, at the morgue of the Luxor International Hospital, in Luxor, Egypt, Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2013. A hot air balloon flying over Egypt's ancient city of Luxor caught fire and crashed into a sugar cane field on Tuesday, killing at least 19 foreign tourists in one of the world's deadliest ballooning accidents and handing a new blow to Egypt's ailing tourism industry. Arabic on the wall reads, "we will all return to God, there is no God but God, and Muhammed is his prophet." (AP Photo/Nasser Nasser)

  • EGYPT-ACCIDENT-BALLOON

    Egyptians stand by the site where a hot air balloon exploded and plunged to earth during a sunrise flight at Egypt's ancient temple city of Luxor, a day after the incident on February 27, 2013. An initial probe into a hot air balloon crash that killed up to 19 tourists has ruled out any criminal activity as a cause of the accident, state media said. AFP PHOTO / KHALED DESOUKI (Photo credit should read KHALED DESOUKI/AFP/Getty Images)

  • EGYPT-ACCIDENT-BALLOON-CHINA

    Relatives of the nine Hong Kong citizens, killed in the Luxor balloon accident, speak to Chinese Ambassador to Egypt Song Aiguo (L) and Hong Kong immigration officials as they arrive at the Cairo International Airport on February 27, 2013. Four investigating teams were formed after Egypt's Prime Minister Hisham Qandil ordered a probe into the hot air balloon crash on February 26, in the ancient temple city of Luxor, that killed tourists from Hong Kong, Japan, Britain, France and Hungary. AFP PHOTO/STR (Photo credit should read -/AFP/Getty Images)

  • EGYPT-ACCIDENT-BALLOON-CHINA

    Relatives of the nine Hong Kong citizens, killed in the Luxor balloon accident, are greeted by Chinese Ambassador to Egypt Song Aiguo (C) and Hong Kong immigration officials as they arrive at the Cairo International Airport on February 27, 2013. Four investigating teams were formed after Egypt's Prime Minister Hisham Qandil ordered a probe into the hot air balloon crash on February 26, in the ancient temple city of Luxor, that killed tourists from Hong Kong, Japan, Britain, France and Hungary. AFP PHOTO/STR (Photo credit should read -/AFP/Getty Images)

  • EGYPT-ACCIDENT-BALLOON-CHINA

    Relatives of the nine Hong Kong citizens, killed in the Luxor balloon accident, arrive at the Cairo International Airport ahead of meeting Chinese Ambassador to Egypt Song Aiguo (C) and Hong Kong immigration officials on February 27, 2013. Four investigating teams were formed after Egypt's Prime Minister Hisham Qandil ordered a probe into the hot air balloon crash on February 26, in the ancient temple city of Luxor, that killed tourists from Hong Kong, Japan, Britain, France and Hungary. AFP PHOTO/STR (Photo credit should read -/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Japanese travel agent Okumura Hatsuko, holds flowers as she pays respect to Japanese tourists that died from a hot air balloon accident, in Luxor, Egypt, Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2013. A hot air balloon carrying tourists over Egypt's ancient city of Luxor caught fire on Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2013 and some passengers trying to escape the flames leaped to their deaths before the craft crashed in a sugar cane field. At least 19 tourists were killed in one of the world's deadliest ballooning accidents. (AP Photo/Nasser Nasser)

  • Japanese travel agent Okumura Hatsuko, center, pays respect to Japanese tourists that died from a hot air balloon accident, in Luxor, Egypt, Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2013. A hot air balloon carrying tourists over Egypt's ancient city of Luxor caught fire on Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2013 and some passengers trying to escape the flames leaped to their deaths before the craft crashed in a sugar cane field. At least 19 tourists were killed in one of the world's deadliest ballooning accidents. (AP Photo/Nasser Nasser)

  • Un trabajador de rescate recoge restos en el sitio donde se desplomó un globo aerostático el martes 26 de febrero de 26, 2013, cerca del pueblo de al-Dhabaa, al oeste de Luxor, Egipto. (Foto AP/Ibrahim Zayed)

  • Fotografía provista por Christopher Michel en la que aparece el sitio de donde despegaron globos aerostáticos para turistas cerca de Luxor, Egipto, el martes 26 de febrero de 2013, poco antes de que uno de los globos de accidentara, matando a por lo menos 18 personas. (Foto AP/Christopher Michel)

  • Fotografía provista por Christopher Michel en la que aparece el lugar de donde despegaron globos aerostáticos para turistas cerca de Luxor, Egipto, el martes 26 de febrero de 2013, poco antes de que uno de los globos de accidentara, matando a por lo menos 18 personas. (Foto AP/Christopher Michel)

  • Equipos de rescate inspeccionan el sitio donde se desplomó un globo aerostático el martes 26 de febrero de 26, 2013, cerca del pueblo de al-Dhabaa, al oeste de Luxor, Egipto. (Foto AP/Hagag Salama)

  • Una bolsa negra de plástico envuelve el cadáver de una persona que fue víctima de un accidente de globo el martes 26 de febrero de 26, 2013, en un camino de tierra cerca del pueblo de al-Dhabaa, al oeste de Luxor, Egipto. (Foto AP/Hagag Salama)

  • Rescue workers and civilians search for bodies at the scene of a balloon crash outside al-Dhabaa village, just west of the city of Luxor, 510 kilometers (320 miles) south of Cairo, Egypt, Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2013. A hot air balloon flying over Egypt's ancient city of Luxor caught fire and crashed into a sugar cane field on Tuesday, killing at least 18 foreign tourists, a security official said. The casualties included French, British, Belgian, Hungarian, Japanese nationals and nine tourists from Hong Kong, Luxor Governor, Saad told reporters. (AP Photo/Hagag Salama)

  • Rescue workers prepare to remove a body from the scene of a balloon crash outside al-Dhabaa village, just west of the city of Luxor, 510 kilometers (320 miles) south of Cairo, Egypt, Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2013. A hot air balloon flying over Egypt's ancient city of Luxor caught fire and crashed into a sugar cane field on Tuesday, killing at least 18 foreign tourists, a security official said. The casualties included French, British, Belgian, Hungarian, Japanese nationals and nine tourists from Hong Kong, Luxor Governor, Saad told reporters. (AP Photo/Hagag Salama)

  • Egyptians gather at the site of a balloon crash where the remains of the burned gondola are seen, outside al-Dhabaa village, just west of the city of Luxor, 510 kilometers (320 miles) south of Cairo, Egypt, Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2013. A hot air balloon flying over Egypt's ancient city of Luxor caught fire and crashed into a sugar cane field on Tuesday, killing at least 18 foreign tourists, a security official said. The casualties included French, British, Belgian, Hungarian, Japanese nationals and nine tourists from Hong Kong, Luxor Governor, Saad told reporters. (AP Photo/Hagag Salama)

  • Rescue workers remove a body from the scene of a balloon crash outside al-Dhabaa village, just west of the city of Luxor, 510 kilometers (320 miles) south of Cairo, Egypt, Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2013. A hot air balloon flying over Egypt's ancient city of Luxor caught fire and crashed into a sugar cane field on Tuesday, killing at least 18 foreign tourists, a security official said. The casualties included French, British, Belgian, Hungarian, Japanese nationals and nine tourists from Hong Kong, Luxor Governor, Saad told reporters. (AP Photo/Hagag Salama)

  • Ezzat Saad

    Egyptians and Luxor Governor Ezzat Saad, fourth left, inspect the scene of a balloon crash outside al-Dhabaa village, just west of the city of Luxor, 510 kilometers (320 miles) south of Cairo, Egypt, Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2013. A hot air balloon flying over Egypt's ancient city of Luxor caught fire and crashed into a sugar cane field on Tuesday, killing at least 18 foreign tourists, a security official said. The casualties included French, British, Belgian, Hungarian, Japanese nationals and nine tourists from Hong Kong, Luxor Governor Saad told reporters. (AP Photo/Ibrahim Zayed)

  • Ezzat Saad

    Luxor Governor Ezzat Saad, center, speaks to reporters in al-Dhabaa village, just west of the city of Luxor, 510 kilometers (320 miles) south of Cairo, Egypt, Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2013. A hot air balloon flying over Egypt's ancient city of Luxor caught fire and crashed into a sugar cane field on Tuesday, killing at least 18 foreign tourists, a security official said. The casualties included French, British, Belgian, Hungarian, Japanese nationals and nine tourists from Hong Kong, Luxor Governor, Saad told reporters. (AP Photo/Ibrahim Zayed)

  • Remains near the scene of a balloon crash outside al-Dhabaa village, just west of the city of Luxor, 510 kilometers (320 miles) south of Cairo, Egypt, Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2013. A hot air balloon flying over Egypt's ancient city of Luxor caught fire and crashed into a sugar cane field on Tuesday, killing at least 18 foreign tourists, a security official said. (AP Photo/Ibrahim Zayed)

  • Egyptian rescue workers carry the dead bodies of foreign tourists, near the scene of a balloon crash outside al-Dhabaa village, just west of the city of Luxor, 510 kilometers (320 miles) south of Cairo, Egypt, Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2013. A hot air balloon flying over Egypt's ancient city of Luxor caught fire and crashed into a sugar cane field on Tuesday, killing at least 18 foreign tourists, a security official said. The casualties included French, British, Belgian, Hungarian, Japanese nationals and nine tourists from Hong Kong, Luxor Governor Ezzat Saad told reporters. (AP Photo/Ibrahim Zayed)

  • Egyptian rescue workers collect remains at the scene of a balloon crash outside al-Dhabaa village, just west of the city of Luxor, 510 kilometers (320 miles) south of Cairo, Egypt, Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2013. A hot air balloon flying over Egypt's ancient city of Luxor caught fire and crashed into a sugar cane field on Tuesday, killing at least 18 foreign tourists, a security official said. (AP Photo/Ibrahim Zayed)

  • An Egyptian rescue worker collects remains near the scene of a balloon crash outside al-Dhabaa village, just west of the city of Luxor, 510 kilometers (320 miles) south of Cairo, Egypt, Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2013. A hot air balloon flying over Egypt's ancient city of Luxor caught fire and crashed into a sugar cane field on Tuesday, killing at least 18 foreign tourists, a security official said. (AP Photo/Ibrahim Zayed)

  • An Egyptian rescue worker collects remains near the scene of a balloon crash outside al-Dhabaa village, just west of the city of Luxor, 510 kilometers (320 miles) south of Cairo, Egypt, Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2013. A hot air balloon flying over Egypt's ancient city of Luxor caught fire and crashed into a sugar cane field on Tuesday, killing at least 18 foreign tourists, a security official said. (AP Photo/Ibrahim Zayed)

  • An Egyptian rescue worker collects remains near the scene of a balloon crash outside al-Dhabaa village, just west of the city of Luxor, 510 kilometers (320 miles) south of Cairo, Egypt, Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2013. A hot air balloon flying over Egypt's ancient city of Luxor caught fire and crashed into a sugar cane field on Tuesday, killing at least 18 foreign tourists, a security official said. (AP Photo/Ibrahim Zayed)

  • In this image made available by Christopher Michel, the launch site near Luxor in Egypt, shortly prior to a hot air balloon explosion which killed at least 18 tourists including a number of tourists Tuesday Feb. 26, 2013. Witnesses described hearing a loud explosion before seeing plumes of smoke as the balloon caught fire and plunged into a sugar cane field west of Luxor, which is 320 miles (510km) south of the capital Cairo. The casualties are believed to include British and French tourists, as well as other nationalities, a security official in the country said. (AP Photo/Christopher Michel)

  • In this image made available by Christopher Michel, the launch site near Luxor in Egypt, shortly prior to a hot air balloon explosion which killed at least 18 tourists including a number of tourists Tuesday Feb. 26, 2013. Witnesses described hearing a loud explosion before seeing plumes of smoke as the balloon caught fire and plunged into a sugar cane field west of Luxor, which is 320 miles (510km) south of the capital Cairo. The casualties are believed to include British and French tourists, as well as other nationalities, a security official in the country said. (AP Photo/Christopher Michel)

  • Egyptians gather near the scene of a balloon crash outside al-Dhabaa village, just west of the city of Luxor, 510 kilometers (320 miles) south of Cairo, Egypt, Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2013. A hot air balloon flying over Egypt's ancient city of Luxor caught fire and crashed into a sugar cane field on Tuesday, killing at least 19 foreign tourists, a security official said. (AP Photo/Hagag Salama)

  • FILE - In this Wednesday, May 24, 2006 file photo, tourists take a hot air balloon tour over 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, just west of the city of Luxor, Egypt, Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2013, killing at least 19 foreign tourists, a security official said. (AP Photo/Mohammed Anan, File)

  • FILE - In this Friday, Nov. 23, 2012 file photo, tourists ride a hot air balloon 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, just west of the city of Luxor, Egypt, Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2013, killing at least 19 foreign tourists, a security official said. (AP Photo/Nariman El-Mofty, File)

  • EGYPT BALLOON ACCIDENT

    Map locates Luxor, Egypt, where a hot air balloon crash killed foreign tourists