A hot air balloon crashed early on Tuesday near the ancient Egyptian town of Luxor, killing eighteen Asian and European tourists.

The tragedy took place following a mid-air gas explosion when the balloon was at around 1,000 feet (300 metres) above Luxor, famous for its pharaonic temples and tombs of the Valley of the Kings, including Tutankhamen's.

The balloon came to ground on the west bank of the Nile river, where many of the major historical sites are located.

U.S. photographer Christopher Michel, who was on board another balloon, told Sky News that the balloon was one of eight flying at the time.

The pilot survived by jumping from the basket when it was 10-15 metres from the ground and was being treated for burns.

One of the tourists aboard the balloon also survived the accident, which was caused by an explosion in the hose between the balloon's burner and its gas canister.

Investigators were on site examining the burnt wreckage of the balloon.

Mohamed Mustafa, a doctor at the hospital where the wounded were being treated, said the dead included tourists from Britain, Japan and Hong Kong. Three more were hurt.

Presented by Adam Justice.