A hot-air balloon in Turkey's famous tourist attraction city, Cappadocia, has made a hard landing injuring 18 tourists out of 20 on-board on Friday morning.
During the accident 14 tourists from China, two from the United States, one from Brazil, two from Greece, and the pilot from Turkey were aboard the hot-air balloon, said the Provincial Health Director, Dr. Rahim Ünlünay, during a conference at the governorate at Turkey's central Nevşehir province, where Cappadocia is located.
"The balloon has flipped over the basket. it was a 20-person balloon, the 18 injured have been transported to hospitals," he said.
"Most of the injuries are non-life threatening and that patients will soon be discharged from the hospital," the director said.
The reason behind the hard landing is not yet known; however, initial reports from authorities said that injuries stemmed from both the impact of the ground and flames from the balloon, after gas used to propel the balloon caught fire.
The pilot of the balloon had first-degree burns on his arms and head.
Hot air balloons are among the most popular touristic activities in the region, though occasional accidents sometimes occur. One-hundred-and-ninety balloons operate in the region, according to statistics, and they are subject to regular inspections by the General Directorate of Civil Aviation. In May 2013, three Brazilian tourists were killed when two balloons collided mid-air. In 2009, a British tourist was killed in a crash. In December 2014, a 23-year-old Chinese woman was killed in another hard landing by a balloon. Hot air balloon operators assure that the balloons are safe with only four accidents in the past two decades since the balloons were introduced. The cause of Friday's crash is still under investigation.