40 KILLED IN EGYPT TRAIN CRASH

Two trains hur­tle into each other af­ter mal­func­tion causes one to halt

New Straits Times - - World -

ALEXAN­DRIA

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

AFP PIC EPA PIC

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.

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