Turkey, balloon accident in Cappadocia

Two Spanish tourists killed after balloon crashed in Cappadocia, Turkey

Two Spanish tourists were killed and three others were injured after a hot air balloon crashed this morning while flying over the Cappadocia region in central Turkey due to a sudden change in the wind, local authorities have reported.

“The hot air balloon, belonging to a private company and which took off from the Zelve ruins in the Avanos district at 7:25 in the morning (9:25 Spanish peninsular time) made a rough landing in the Killik region near the town of Kavak at 8:50 a.m. (10:50 a.m. Spanish peninsular time) due to a sudden increase in wind speed,” said in an official statement İnci Sezer Becel, governor of the Turkish province of Nevşehir, located in the heart of the Cappadocia region.

“Among the 28 passengers and 2 crew members traveling on the balloon, two Spanish citizens lost their lives, while there are three other Spanish citizens who were injured,” added the governor, who indicated that a judicial and administrative investigation has been launched to clarify the exact causes of the accident.

Tourists wounded, out of danger

Turkish health authorities have reported that the injured are being treated in several hospitals in Nevşehir province, further confirming that they are out of danger and that there is no fear for their lives.

The Turkish newspaper Hürriyet has identified the names of the two deceased Spaniards as María Cristina Baltrons, 62, and Dolors Masana, 64, both from Catalonia. The identity of the injured has not been released.

The last balloon accident in Cappadocia occurred in 2017

Declared a World Heritage Site, the Cappadocia region is one of the most visited areas by foreign tourists who travel to Turkey, especially by Spaniards, due to its beautiful landscapes sculpted by erosion, its underground cities and its churches excavated in the rock.

So far this year, some 2 million tourists have visited Cappadocia, where sunrise balloon flights are one of the main attractions: between January and September alone, more than half a million tourists flew in a balloon over this emblematic region of Turkey.

Every day with the first rays of the sun, dozens of balloons take off from Cappadocia with tourists who want to see the region from the air; although balloon accidents in this tourist region of Turkey are rare, it is not the first time they have occurred: the most recent fatal event occurred in 2017, when the French consul in Istanbul died in a balloon accident in Cappadocia due to an argument between a passenger and the pilot. In 2013, two balloons collided in the air in the area, killing 3 Brazilian tourists. And in 2009, a British tourist died after another balloon crash.