An investigation report on the hot-air balloon crash in Egypt three years ago that killed nine Hongkongers that has been cited at an inquest underway in the city is not the
final version, shocked relatives have been told.
Investigators in Egypt were still probing the tragedy, family members were informed on Tuesday during a meeting in the city with the Egyptian consulate.
Nineteen people died when the balloon burst into flames on a sightseeing tour in Luxor on February 26, 2013. Only the Egyptian pilot and a Briton survived.
Siu Chi-keung, who lost his brother and sister-in-law, said he was shocked to learn from consul general Alaaeldin Kashef that the report they received in November last year was not final.
Siu said they were given the impression from Hong Kong’s Security Bureau and China’s Foreign Affairs Ministry last year that the report was the final version.
He understood that the Hong Kong inquest in the coroner’s court only began on February 15 after that report was translated.
Lawmaker Alan Leong Kah-kit said that if an inquest was based on a report it had to be the final version, as an interim one might change along the way.
In a statement, the consulate said: “The Consulate General of the Arab Republic of Egypt intends to be actively involved until the final report will be obtained from the concerned Egyptian Authorities in all related fields and are offering every possible assistance in this incident.”
Lawmaker Kwok Wai-keung, who accompanied four bereaved relatives at the meeting, said the families requested the consul general to reflect to relevant authorities their concerns about insurance claims.
While many of the families’ questions went unanswered, Siu said the consul general had a helpful attitude.
Meanwhile, Kashef explained that the Egyptian government did not sent a representative to the coroner’s inquest because it was only informed two or three days before it began and could not get approval in time.
The consul general also expressed sympathy to the families, adding that the consulate general would inform relevant authorities in Hong Kong and China immediately of progress on the case.
The inquest continues on Wednesday.