40 KILLED IN EGYPT TRAIN CRASH
Two trains hurtle into each other after malfunction causes one to halt
THE death toll from Egypt’s latest train disaster rose to 40 as cranes worked yesterday to clear the stricken railway line between Cairo and the Mediterranean city here.
Under floodlights, rescue teams combed wrecked carriages all night for casualties, also using torches on their mobile phones.
The toll from Friday’s accident when two trains hurtled into each other near Alexandria had risen to 40 dead and 123 wounded, said Health Ministry spokesman Khaled Moujahed, as local media said the number of fatalities was likely to rise.
A stream of ambulances ferried the injured, stretched out on the ground in a field alongside the railway tracks, to hospitals here.
Workers used cranes to lift four knotted sheet-metal carriages blocking the normally busy Cairo-Alexandria line.
Transport Ministry officials, quoted on state television, had said the crash in farmland on the outskirts of the city here was probably caused by a malfunction in one train that brought it to a halt.
The other train then crashed into it.
One train had been heading here from Cairo and the other from Port Said, east along the coast.
President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi had sent his condolences to the victims’ families and ordered a probe to “hold accountable” those responsible for the disaster.
It was the deadliest train accident in the country since a train ploughed into a bus carrying schoolchildren in 2012, killing 47 people. That accident jolted the government which ordered an investigation and sacked the transport minister and the head of the railway authority.
The accident was blamed on a train signal operator who fell asleep on the job.
The probe, however, did not prevent further accidents. Just months later, a train carrying military conscripts derailed, killing 17 people.
Around a year later, a collision between a train and a bus killed 27 people south of the capital.
They had been returning from a wedding when the train ploughed into their bus and a truck at a railway crossing.
The deadliest accident on Egypt’s railways dates back to 2002, when 373 people died after a fire ripped through a crowded train south of Cairo. AFP
A notice informing customers that the eggs on sale are safe for consumption in a supermarket in Hong Kong yesterday. Emergency personnel lifting a train car with a crane following a collision by two trains near Khorshid station in Egypt’s northern city of Alexandria on Friday.