Dozens killed in train crash in southern Egypt, say authorities

At least 32 people were killed and more than a hundred injured when two trains collided in southern Egypt. Authorities blamed a passenger activating the emergency brakes.

Two passenger cars flipped on their side from the force of the collision, the latest in a series of deadly accidents along Egypt’s troubled rail system, plagued by poor maintenance and management.

Video from the scene in the southern province of Sohag, 270 miles south of Cairo, taken shortly after the collision showed derailed cars turned into twisted piles of metal, with some passengers trapped inside. Bystanders carried bodies and laid them out on the ground near the site.

Egyptian railway authorities said the accident happened when someone activated the emergency brakes of a passenger train headed to the Mediterranean city of Alexandria. The train stopped abruptly and was struck from behind by another train, a statement said, causing two carriages from the first train to flip over.

Egypt’s president Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi said he was monitoring the situation and that those responsible would receive “a deterrent punishment.”

“The pain that tears our hearts today cannot but make us more determined to end this type of disasters,” he wrote on his Facebook page.

The office of the prime minister, Mustafa Madbouly, said he and five of his cabinet members would travel to the scene.

Egypt’s railway system has a history of badly maintained equipment and poor management. Official figures show that 1,793 train accidents took place in 2017 across the country.

In 2018, a passenger train derailed near the southern city of Aswan, injuring at least six people and prompting authorities to fire the chief of the country’s railways. In the same year, the president, Abdel Fatah al-Sisi, said the government lacked about 250bn Egyptian pounds (£11.5bn) to overhaul the run-down rail system. Sisi spoke a day after a passenger train collided with a cargo train, killing at least 12 people, including a child.

A year earlier, 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 took place in 2002, when more than 300 people were killed after fire erupted on a train travelling from Cairo to southern Egypt.


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