balloon_rideA hot air balloon carrying 14 people crashed in a desert area east of Abu Dhabi on Sunday, killing a Frenchman and an Indian national, the General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) said.

Two other people were injured, one seriously, in the early morning crash near Sweihan, some 80 kilometres (50 miles) east of the United Arab Emirates capital, a GCAA statement said.

The aviation authority said that an investigation into the cause of the crash was under way.

The operating tourist company, Dubai-based Balloon Adventures Emirates, said it would issue a statement and refused to comment over the phone.

Balloon expeditions are common in the UAE which in recent years has become a tourist destination, mainly as the emirate of Dubai developed itself into a regional hub for leisure.