Fifty-five people were killed in the central Egyptian province of Minya yesterday when the bus they were in plunged into a canal, state news agency MENA said.
The bus was carrying about 70 passengers at the time of the crash, it said. Security sources said they expected the death toll to rise once divers finished extracting bodies.
One source said the driver, who survived, said he had swerved to avoid an oncoming vehicle and drove the bus into the Ibrahimiya Canal, one of the largest irrigation canals in the world. But MENA said the driver had lost control of the bus while attempting to overtake another vehicle.
Most of the dead drowned, according to one security source.
Reckless driving and poor road conditions cause many road accidents in Egypt. A series of road and rail accidents in recent years has sparked repeated public outcries over the government's record on transport safety.
The government began enforcing a new traffic code in August, but after a brief initial crackdown there appears to have been little follow-up, and streets remain chaotic.