Egypt: Head on train collision kills at least 30

At least 30 people were killed and more than 60 others injured after two trains collided north of the Egyptian city of Sohag on Friday.

The collision caused three passenger cars to flip over and videos on local media from the scene showed wagons with passengers trapped inside and surrounded by debris.

Some victims seemed unconscious, while others could be seen bleeding. Bystanders carried bodies and laid them out on the ground near the site.

Egypt’s railway authority said the trains collided after emergency brakes were triggered by “unknown individuals” near the city of Sohag, about 500km (260 miles) south of the capital Cairo.

The brakes caused one of the trains to stop and the other to crash into it from behind, and the authority is conducting further investigations, it said.

The public prosecutor’s office said it also ordered an investigation.

“The trains collided while going at not very high speeds, which led to the destruction of two carriages and a third to overturn,” an unnamed security source told Reuters news agency.

Authorities dispatched 36 ambulances to the scene and casualties were being taken to local hospitals, the health ministry said in a statement.

Run-down rail system

Egypt has one of the oldest and largest rail networks in North Africa and accidents causing casualties are common.

Official figures show that 1,793 train accidents took place in 2017 across the country.

In 2018, President Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi said the government lacks about $14.1bn to overhaul the run-down rail system.

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 when a fire broke out on a speeding train traveling from Cairo to southern Egypt.

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