Egypt Train Disaster: 170 Bodies Identified; Victims Announced Martyrs
Families of about 380 people who died when fire ripped through a crowded train in Egypt began the grim task of identifying their loved ones. But most of the bodies were impossible to identify.
Relatives were allowed into a central Cairo morgue one or two at a time to try to identify the charred bodies from Wednesday’s calamity.
The train kept rolling for several kilometers after the fire broke out, the wind fanning the flames. Officials have said passengers using a gas stove may have started the blaze.
Some travelers were trapped behind window grilles. Only a few managed to jump from windows and doors to escape the inferno near Al-Ayatt, about 70 km south of the capital Cairo.
The exact death toll was still unclear. While Minister of Rural Development Mustafa Abdel Qader said the figure had reached 373, the prosecutor’s office in the district of Giza, where the accident occurred, said 361 had died.
The official MENA news agency said 170 bodies had been identified.
The chief of Al-Azhar issued an Islamic ruling (fatwa) that the victims of the train accident should be considered martyrs and therefore there is no need to wash their bodies before burial.
Security sources said authorities would examine whether necessary safety precautions were in place. Officials have defended the state railways, saying the train met technical requirements.
According to Arab News, initial investigations cast suspicion on the portable gas stoves Egyptians often use to brew tea and coffee on board.
All the dead were thought to be Egyptian. Witnesses said most were heading off to spend Eid with families. (Albawaba.com)