A hot air balloon crashed near the Egyptian town of Luxor on Tuesday, killing 18 tourists who were aboard, a spokesman for companies that operate balloon flights in the area told Reuters.

Ahmed Aboud added that one tourist and the balloon pilot had survived the accident, which happened after a gas explosion at 1,000 feet (300 meters). He said the tourists were from a variety of countries but did not immediately have information on their nationalities.

"There were 20 passengers aboard. An explosion happened and 19 passengers died. One tourist and the pilot survived," he said by telephone. The death toll was later updated to 18, due to initial confusion after the crash. Aboud is the representative of eight companies that operate balloons in Luxor.