Egypt's train crash kills at least 19, 100 more wounded
A Rescue team tries to find survivors under the debris of the derailed carriage (Photo: Mohamed Nada / Ahram Online)
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At least 19 were killed and 100 injured after an Egyptian military train carriage derailed in the early hours of Tuesday in the Giza neighbourhood of Badrashin, the latest in a series of train accidents during the past few months.
The 12-carriage train, carrying 1328 Egyptian conscripts, was heading back to Cairo from Upper Egypt when the accident occurred shortly after midnight.
Police forces carried out a rescue operation, with local reports saying some conscripts were battling to survive under the rubbles of the derailed carriage, which carried around 200 soldiers.
A health ministry official said 19 died and 117 were injured in the accident. A security official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told Ahram Online many of the wounded were in a critical condition, raising the possibility of a rise in the death toll during the next few hours.
Many ambulances ferried the injured to a nearby hospital, and Egyptian officials started arriving at the scene around three hours after it happened, Ahram Online’s Mohamed Nada said.
Hussein Zakareya, head of Egypt’s Railway Authority, said the derailed carriage hit another cargo train after it went off the rails.
The deadly incident comes less than two months after around 50 schoolchildren were killed when their bus was hit by a train as it drove over a railway crossing in the Assiut village of Manfalout, Upper Egypt.
In the same month, November 2012, at least three Egyptians were killed and more than 30 injured in a train crash in Fayoum, another city south of Cairo.
Dozens of train accidents have occurred during the past decade. The most horrific one saw 373 passengers killed in 2002 after a train caught fire. Seven years later, at least 30 people died in another accident on the same railways.
Egyptians have long complained about poor levels of safety and maintenance in the out-of-date railway system. The Egyptian government vowed on numerous occasions to upgrade the ageing trains, but little had been made in that regard.
“We have to admit that the railway system is decaying. We will carry out investigations to know whether the accident happened because of defects in the train or rails or because of other reasons,” transportation minister Hatem Abdel-Latif, who has been in office for 10 days, told Al-Ahram’s Arabic website.
Abdel-Latif recently replaced Rashad El-Metiny, who resigned in the wake of the Assiut tragedy, in a partial cabinet reshuffle carried out by Prime Minister Hisham Qandil.
By Hatem Maher and Mohamed Nada