Eleven dead, 98 injured after train derails in Egypt

People gather at the site where train carriages derailed in Qalioubia province, north of Cairo, Egypt April 18, 2021. REUTERS/Mohamed Abd El Ghany

A passenger train derailed Sunday north of Cairo, killing at least 11 people and injuring scores more, the Egyptian authorities said. It was the latest of several deadly rail accidents to hit the country in recent years.

At least 60 ambulances rushed to find survivors and help those who were hurt when four train cars ran off the rails just outside Cairo, the railway authority said. At least 98 people were injured, mostly with broken bones, cuts and bruises, the Health Ministry said in a statement.

Videos on social media showed train cars overturned at the city of Banha in Qalyubia Province and passengers escaping along the tracks. The train was bound for the Nile Delta city of Mansura from Cairo, the capital, the rail authority said in a statement.

Salvage teams could be seen searching for survivors and removing the derailed train cars. It was not immediately clear what caused the derailment, and prosecutors said they were investigating.

The state-run daily newspaper Ahram reported that the authorities had detained at least 10 railway officials, including the train conductor and his assistant, pending an investigation into the accident.

At the Banha University hospital, people lined up on Sunday to donate blood for the crash victims. Families were also there looking for loved ones who had been on the train.

“We were surprised by the train speeding up,” said Tarek Gomaa, one of the injured. “We found ourselves on top of each other.”

Sunday’s accident came three weeks after two passenger trains collided in the province of Sohag, killing at least 18 people and injuring 200 others. Prosecutors said gross negligence by railway employees was behind that crash on March 25, which caused public outcry across the country.

Train wrecks are common in Egypt, where the railway system has a history of badly maintained equipment and mismanagement. The government says it has begun a broad effort to renovate and modernize the system. President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi said three years ago that the government needed about 250 billion Egyptian pounds, or $14
Hundreds of train accidents are reported in Egypt every year. In February 2019 an unmanned locomotive slammed into a barrier in Cairo’s main railway station, causing a huge explosion and a fire that killed at least 25 people. That crash prompted the transportation minister at the time to resign.

In August 2017, two passenger trains collided just outside the Mediterranean port city of Alexandria, killing 43 people. In 2016, at least 51 people were killed when two commuter trains collided near Cairo.

Egypt’s deadliest train crash was in 2002, when more than 300 people were killed after a fire broke out in an overnight train traveling from Cairo to southern Egypt.

SOURCE: AP

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