Belfast Telegraph

Monday 22 September 2014

Balloon crash survivor heading home

Joe Bampton and his girlfriend Zsi Gyetvai died in the Luxor balloon tragedy (Foreign and Commonwealth Office/PA)
Flowers on the doorstep of Michael and Yvonne Rennie's home in Perth

The British survivor of the Luxor balloon disaster is reportedly set to head home after he is discharged from hospital in Egypt.

Michael Rennie, 49, was one of just two survivors of the horror crash that killed 19 people, including his wife Yvonne, 48, and London-based Joe Bampton and his girlfriend Zsi Gyetvai on Tuesday.

Scotsman Mr Rennie escaped with only minor injuries when he jumped from the balloon before it plummeted to the ground after it caught fire near the Egyptian city, neurologist Mahmoud el-Shennawy, who is treating him at a Cairo hospital, said.

He added that Mr Rennie, 49, from Perth, is likely to be discharged from hospital on Friday and would go straight to the airport.

Mr Rennie has paid tribute to his wife, whom he described as "my rock, my friend, my shoulder to cry on".

He issued a statement in which he called her "my world".

He said: "I would like to thank the staff at both hospitals in Cairo and Luxor, the British Embassy - especially Hala Hamam and John Hamilton - and Kathryn Brace from (tour operator) Thomas Cook for helping me through these last few days.

"My heartfelt condolences go out to the other families that have lost relatives around the world in this terrible disaster."

There were also tributes paid by Maureen Bampton to her son Joe and his Hungarian partner Zsi. She said: "I would like to thank everyone for their messages of condolence, cards and flowers following the tragic deaths of my son Joe Bampton and his girlfriend Zsi Gyetvai in Egypt on Tuesday.

"My son and Zsi were wonderfully creative and sensitive individuals who lived life to the full and enjoyed being in Clapham Common with their dog Ollie."

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