Hot air balloon crash in Egypt kills 19 (dramatic video)

It’s a horrifying video.  The stuff of nightmares.  And oddly captivating.  A hot air balloon filled with nearly two dozen people catches fire and plunges 1,000 feet to the ground, and the entire thing is caught on video.

An amazing number of people, all over the world, are walking around with video cameras in their pockets, capturing every moment of mundane life, and history.

We saw this recently with the comet explosion over Russia. It was one of the most documented moments in the history of astronomy, and all done by citizen journalists (with the help of their car-cams).

I’m not saying it’s a good thing that we can watch 19 people fall to their deaths. I am saying that it’s fascinating that the deaths of 19 random people will be witnessed by millions around the world in a way never before possible. And rather than find in it something prurient, I’d rather think it humanizing in even a small way that people across the globe can share in the horror of the death of a stranger.

The citizen documentation of life in our era, even in tragedy, is absolutely fascinating.

I googled around and found more about the crash via the Guardian in a quite detailed story.


Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown (1989); and worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, and as a stringer for the Economist. Frequent TV pundit: O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline & Reliable Sources. Bio, .

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  • hoary_nodens

    Sooo…if there was video footage (eg security cameras) of the children being massacred at Sandy Hook would you post it and would we all watch it?

    Yep – boredom creates hunger.

  • Dietrich

    I think you borrowed this from Jack Handy?

  • Kes

    I was referring more to your quibble about the phrase “citizen documentation.” But I see you’ve decided to respond with more quibbling about words.

    Do you have a quibble with the word quibble, too? Or should we trot happily down your red herring path of what the everloving crap “disposably viewable” might mean and your adorable little inferred ad hominem?

  • JozefAL

    But that certainly didn’t stop your passing judgment or placing blame on the Egyptians, did it?

  • JozefAL

    As though tourists or citizens of the US, getting into a hot air balloon can expect any better? And if the GOP had their way, there would be NO standards and NO inspections whatsoever.
    But, if bashing Egypt makes you feel any better, go right ahead. It makes you just as much a douchebag as the person you attacked for not making a “counter argument.” Personally, I think whoever voted you down felt you didn’t have an argument that was worth countering.

  • SkippyFlipjack

    the video is “oddly captivating” for those who crane their necks to see car accident sites

  • nicho

    Don’t just vote it down. Have the courage to post a counter argument. Douchebag.

  • nicho

    When I die, I want to die peacefully in my sleep like my grandfather — not screaming in terror — like the passengers in his car.

  • Cletus

    Not the commercial version.

  • wtf2

    I said “wrong,” not inappropriate. “Appropriate” is used mainly as a BS word by people who don’t know what they’re talking about.

    Footage of the Hindenburg crash was not so easily, disposably viewable at the time.

  • Indigo

    I had the good fortune to visit Luxor and tour the Valley of the Kings a few years before the Arab Spring and one of the opportunities was the hot air balloon ride over the Valley. It was fascinating but maybe not as technically competent as it could have been. Seeing the shadow of the balloon gondola I was riding in pass over the ruins of the Temple of Queen Hatshupset was definitely a once-in-a-lifetime thrill. I cherish the photo I took of that moment. I didn’t feel in any danger but it was a precarious feeling all the same.

    I have sorrow for those who died and alarm for the quality of those excursions in revolutionary Egypt today, though. I’d love to go back and do it all again. Horrible things can happen and none of us are exempt but I don’t think tempting fate with risky tourist traps is an especially good idea in today’s revolutionary Egypt. Horrible! Fascinating! and horrible!

    But . . . I’m already 72 years old and retired and would just as soon not die quietly in bed. Adventure tourism carries danger with it and when you go on adventure tours, it’s best you realize they really are dangerous. People die doing things like that. Citizen journalism is welcome, as far as I’m concerned. Those shots are horrifying but also hypnotic. It could have happened to me but it didn’t. Not yet, anyhow.

  • Kes

    Were the news stories about the Hindenburg crash – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hindenburg_disaster – not appropriate news footage, either?

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1526664170 Sara Orel

    It was on Facebook today, easy to see. I just can’t click on it and won’t watch it, but I have no problem with it being included. Now I am off to read the guardian sorry. Thanks for linking to that.

  • nicho

    A bigger question is why even one person would get into a hot air balloon in Egypt. I’m sure they have nothing but the tightest standards and most rigorous inspections.

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    Oh I think it’s definitely citizen journalism. Video of a tragic accident is news. Now, it might ALSO be death as infotainment. But a lot of news is tragedy as infotainment, depending how you look at it. I still think it’s fascinating that everything like this is now almost sure to be documented in one way or another.

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    I’ve been watching non-stop Fringe for the past few weeks, just discovered the series. So yes, I’m in my more intellectual mode.

  • lonecanyonrider

    ach du lieber

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    What I want to know is what the heck 19 people were doing riding in one hot air balloon. Isn’t the usual capacity just 3-4 max?

  • Island In The Sky

    I understand what you’re saying, but it sounds a little Spock-ish (“oddly captivating”).

  • wtf2

    I think it’s wrong to link to this video. More death as infotainment. And I think the framing about “citizen documentation” is dishonest.

  • nicho

    I’ll pass, thanks. I don’t like watching this stuff when it’s computer generated.

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