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4 Dutch tourists killed in balloon accident

FOUR Dutch tourists were killed when their hot air balloon exploded and crashed in southern China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region this morning.

Two of the victims were women, according to Xinhua news agency. Seven people were on board when the morning joyride in the scenic Yangshuo County turned tragic.

Two Chinese balloon drivers and one male Dutch passenger jumped out of the gondola when the balloon crash-landed and caught fire at about 9am. The three are now hospitalized. No details of their conditions were available.

With less weight in the gondola, the balloon took off again carrying four passengers.

The balloon then exploded and crashed in a neighboring county.

According to China Central Television, only one hot air balloon club is licensed to run the business and the crashed balloon is probably an illegal operation.

Local authorities are still investigating the case. They presume the balloon's burner tilted when landing and lit the balloon.

This is the second balloon accident in the county famed for the Kassla hills and balloon joyrides. Four tourists were stranded on a 200-meter-high hill when their balloon ran out of fuel in August.

The town's Bureau of Industry and Commerce has been trying to regulate local balloon businesses since then.


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