Egypt train crash: At least 32 dead and dozens injured after collision

The crash, the deadliest in nearly four years, occurred in the southern province of Sohag

Bel Trew,Samuel Osborne
Friday 26 March 2021 21:03
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Trains collide in southern Egypt
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At least 32 people have been killed and 66 injured after two trains collided in southern Egypt, the deadliest such incident in nearly four years.

Dozens of ambulances rushed to the scene of the crash in the southern province of Sohag, the country’s health ministry said.

Videos taken by witnesses showed panicked citizens and police trying to free passengers trapped in the crumpled wagons, some of which had been flipped upside down or lay on their side.

Some victims appeared unconscious, while others could be seen bleeding amid the debris.

Bystanders carried bodies, laying them out on the ground near the site of the accident.

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The transport ministry said that unknown persons pulled the emergency brake on a train going from Luxor to Alexandria, bringing it abruptly to a halt. Another train heading from Cairo to Aswan then crashed into it just before noon local time. The collision caused two cars from the first train to flip over.

President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi expressed his condolences to the families of the killed and wounded promising them compensation and to bring those responsible to justice. “The pain that tears our hearts today cannot but make us more determined to end this type of disaster,” he tweeted.

The president also said he had sent the prime minister and relevant ministers to the site of the crash to oversee an immediate investigation. Train crashes and disasters are common in Egypt where the crumbling transport network is woefully neglected and unfunded.

Friday’s collision is believed to be the deadliest incident since August 2017 when two passenger trains collided near Alexandria, killing more than 40 people and injuring scores.

A video grab taken from the Egyptian state television station shows people searching for survivors

In February 2019, 25 people were killed and dozens injured in an explosion at Egypt’s main railway station, after an unmanned speeding railcar crashed into a barrier, setting a fuel tank on fire.

There are no recent statistics, but official figures from 2017 show that year saw 1,793 train accidents occur across Egypt. The deadliest incident in 2002 when more than 300 people were killed as fire erupted in a train travelling from Cairo to southern Egypt.

In 2018, Mr al-Sisi said the government needed around $14bn, to overhaul the run-down rail system. That year a passenger train derailed near the southern city of Aswan, injuring at least six people and prompting authorities to fire the chief of the country’s railways.

Egypt was already reeling from a crisis in the Suez Canal where a quarter-mile long MV Ever Given container ship that ran aground on Tuesday that has held up billions of dollars worth of global commerce and has already driven up the price of oil. It has potentially hampered the recovery of a world economy already battered by the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

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