Egypt railway failures leave five dead, 31 injured in latest crash
Egyptians check the wreckage of a train after it derailed near the village of Al-Ayyat in Giza on the southern outskirts of the capital Cairo, on September 7, 2016. (AFP/Stringer)
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Giza governor Kamal Al-Daly decided to issue compensation worth $2,250 for the families of those who died in Wednesday’s Al-Ayyat train accident, and $337 for the injured.
The number of injuries rose to 31 in the train accident near Al-Ayyat, Giza, which also left five dead, Medhat Shousha, chief of the Railway Authority told Daily News Egypt.
Shousha said the reason behind the accident is still unknown. “A set of measures will be undertaken by the authority when the investigations are complete in order to prevent further accidents,” he said.
A media official at the Ministry of Transportation said the Cairo-Aswan route is currently on hold and the schedule for trains travelling on this track will be modified.
The train was heading from Cairo to Aswan when three of its carriages derailed from the track before it flipped over.
Sayed, one of the accident’s survivors, told Daily News Egypt that the train had some technical errors before it diverted from the track. “The damage occurred to the front three carriages only,” he said. Sayed, along with other passengers, were taken back to Giza in four microbuses.
The injured were transferred to nearby hospitals. Ahmed Al-Ansary, head of the ambulance authority, said the injuries included fractures in different parts of the body. Twenty-three of those injured were transferred to Al-Ayyat hospital, three to Hawamdeya hospital, and one case to Badrasheen hospital.
Shousha told state-run news agency MENA that the train’s conductor had suddenly switched the direction of the train off the main track when the accident occurred.
Minister of Transportation Galal Al-Saeed left Wednesday’s cabinet meeting and headed to the location of the accident to oversee investigations.
Located more than 800 kilometres south of Cairo, Aswan trains are separated according to first-, second-, and third-class trains. The train that was involved in Wednesday’s accident was a third-class train.
This was not the first accident of its kind. Trains designated for the low-income class in Egypt are notorious for having rundown engines and are repeatedly involved in accidents.
An estimated 1,044 accidents took place in 2014, according to the Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics (CAPMAS) census.
The worst train accident in Egyptian history was also in Al-Ayyat in 2002, when a fire broke out in a third-class train heading to Upper Egypt, leaving more than 350 dead. Another accident took place in Al-Ayyat in 2009 when two trains collided, leaving 30 passengers dead.
In 2012, under the rule of the Muslim Brotherhood regime, a train heading to Assiut hit a school bus, leaving 52 children dead. The accident was heavily criticised in the media and was used as evidence against the incompetency of the Brotherhood regime at that time.
By Menan Khater
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