At least 51 killed in Egyptian train crash

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The Independent Online

A passenger train sped into a northern Egypt railway station today and collided with a second train, killing 51 people and injuring 138.

Footage broadcast by state television showed the front part of one train crumpled in, while other train cars lay on their sides, or on the grass next to the train tracks, at the rail station in the town of Qalyoub, 12 miles north of the capital Cairo.

Egypt's official Middle East News Agency quoted Minister of Health Hatem el-Gabaly on the death toll.

The trains, both southbound and carrying commuters to the Egyptian capital, Cairo, originated in the Nile Delta towns of Mansoura and Benha.

The train from Mansoura was going at least 50 miles per hour when the collision occurred after it failed to abide by a stop signal outside Qalyoub train station, police sources said.

The driver of the Mansoura train was killed and the locomotive overturned, police said.

The incident occurred at approximately 7.45am local time, the governor of Qalyoub, Adly Hussein, told state TV.

At midday, civil defence, police and the military were searching for survivors and recovering bodies amid the crumpled and destroyed cars.

Shoes and blood-soaked clothing littered the station's platform. A man's lifeless and bloodied forearm with a watch was visible emerging from a crushed carriage.

Four carriages derailed and overturned in the crash.

A fire that broke out as a result of the incident was extinguished.

Egypt has a history of serious train accidents, which are usually blamed on poorly maintained equipment. Many of those incidents have occurred in the Nile Delta.

The most recent accident, in February, saw 20 people injured when two trains collided at a Nile Delta station.

Egypt's worst train disaster, in February 2002, killed 363 people, many of them heading home to the country's south for the Islamic calendar's most important holiday.