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Chinese team arrives in Egypt over balloon crash

Updated: 2013-02-28 07:50
( Xinhua)

Chinese team arrives in Egypt over balloon crash 

 Workers prepare a hot air balloon for take off at a launch site near Egypt's ancient temple city of Luxor before it exploded and plunged to earth on Tuesday. [Photo/Agencies]

CAIRO - A Chinese Foreign Ministry work panel arrived in Egypt on Wednesday to deal with the aftermath of a deadly hot air balloon crash, in the wake of nine Hong Kong tourists dying in the tragedy in the country.

Meanwhile, officers from the Hong Kong Immigration Department and the tourist company's staff members also flied to Egypt to help.

Speaking to reporters, Chinese Ambassador to Egypt Song Aiguo said: "We have a delegation from Beijing sent by the Chinese government and a delegation from Hong Kong. We have to coordinate and work together to deal with the tragedy."

Since Tuesday's explosion, the Chinese side has been contacting Egypt's health ministry and tourism ministry as well as the Luxor local government, he said, noting that the Chinese government wants to see swift actions.

Particularly, the ambassador said the Chinese side has contacted the Egyptian side for the procedures of transferring the victims' bodies to China.

The two delegations met with Egypt's Foreign Minister's Assistant for Consular Affairs Ali el-Osheiry.

For his part, el-Osheiry said: "I would like to convey the condolence of our foreign minister, all Egyptians and myself to the Chinese government and the victims' families."

"I would like to inform your esteemed delegations that we are ready to do as much as we can to help take emergency measures in this regard," he added, noting that the investigation team will be in direct contact with the concerned parties.

Deputy Director-General of the Department of Consular Affairs of the Chinese Foreign Ministry, Qiu Xuejun, who leads the Chinese work panel, told Xinhua that the Chinese side would cooperate with the Egyptian government to deal with this issue efficiently.

Also, senior official at Hong Kong Immigration Department, Lee Kwong Wing said "We will work with the Egyptian side to deal with the crisis, and we are stepping up efforts to help the victims' families."

Later on Wednesday, nine family members of the victims and five doctors arrived in Cairo.

A total of 19 tourists were killed and two others injured in a balloon explosion Tuesday morning in Egypt's Luxor governorate. The dead included nine from China's Hong Kong as well as four Japanese, three Britons, two Frenchmen and one Egyptian.

An investigation into the accident has been launched by Luxor prosecution and the Civil Aviation Authority.

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