Egypt. Several dead in collision with passenger train | News | DW

A collision between two passenger trains in central Egypt on Friday left at least 19 people dead and 185 injured, the Egyptian health ministry said.

Health Minister Hala Zayed told reporters on Saturday that the initial death toll of 32 in the crash had been revised down, while the number of injured rose to 165.

“After we looked into the details of those killed and injured…at this moment there are 185 injured and 19 bodies,” Zayed said.

What happened?

Three passenger cars were overturned in the collision. Videos from the scene showed people still trapped inside.

Dozens of ambulances rushed to the scene of the crash in Tahta district of Sohag province, about 460 kilometers (285 miles) south of the capital, Cairo.

Egypt’s railway authority said the accident was caused by an unknown person applying the emergency brakes on the first train, which was then hit by the following train, causing two carriages to derail.

“The trains collided while traveling at not very high speeds, resulting in the destruction of two carriages and the overturning of a third,” a security source told Reuters.

“The [railway] The service has been neglected for decades to such an extent that it has become obsolete and extremely dangerous,” Egyptian Prime Minister Mustafa Madbouly told reporters after arriving at the scene.

“We have spent billions upgrading the railway, but we still have a long way to go to complete all the work required.”

The Egyptian History of Fatal Train Crashes

Egypt has a history of train accidents caused by poorly maintained equipment and poor management. Official figures show 1,793 rail accidents in 2017.

One such accident claimed 43 lives when two trains collided near the Mediterranean port city of Alexandria.

More than 300 people were killed in Egypt’s deadliest train crash when a high-speed train caught fire in 2003.

In 2018, President Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi said the government needed about 250 billion Egyptian pounds ($14.1 billion, 11.97 billion euros) to update the dilapidated railway system from the country.

Egypt has one of the oldest and largest railway networks in Africa.

ab, jsi/msh (Reuters, dpa, AFP, AP)

Jose P. Rogers