CAIRO, Egypt (eTN): Five Egyptians were killed and two wounded when a fire broke out on a Nile cruise ship moored near the ancient Egyptian ruins of Luxor late on Sunday, forcing the evacuation of 43 French tourists, said security officials.
The fire began in the engine room of the M/S Aurora cruise ship and rapidly spread throughout the rest of the ship causing extensive damage, said a security official on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the press.
Another official speaking by phone from Luxor said an investigation into the causes of the fire was underway.
The tourists were evacuated to a second ship and continued on their trip, the official added.
French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner offered his condolences to the families of the victims, his office said in a statement.
The five star M/S Aurora features 42 suites and is one of many cruise ships taking tourists on week-long trips up and down the Nile to visit the Pharaonic-era ruins found between the temple city of Luxor and Aswan, according to travel Web sites.
In February 2006, an electrical short circuit caused a fire that destroyed three cruise ships anchored side by side, also in Luxor.