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At least 36 dead as two trains crash head-on in Egypt

The country has a poor record of rail safety.

An Egyptian local TV chanell reporting the train crash in Alexandria province.
An Egyptian local TV chanell reporting the train crash in Alexandria province.
Image: Tang Jiefeng/PA Images

TWO TRAINS HAVE collided outside the Egyptian city of Alexandria, killing at least 36 people, a health ministry official said.

The crash also injured 123 people, Sharif Wadi, an assistant to the health minister, told state television.

Footage on the state broadcaster showed one train had partly keeled over in the crash, and medics were seen moving the dead and injured to ambulances.

State television, citing transport ministry officials, reported that the crash was probably caused by a malfunction in one of the trains that brought it to a halt on the rails.

The other train then crashed into it.

The dead and injured were initially placed on blankets by the sides of the tracks amid farmland on the outskirts of the Mediterranean city.

Wadi told state television that most of the injured have been taken to hospital.

Egypt’s transport minister has ordered an investigation into the crash, pledging to “hold accountable” whoever was responsible, state television reported.

It was the deadliest train accident in the North African country since a November 2013 collision between a train and a bus killed 27 people south of Cairo.

They had been returning from a wedding when the train ploughed into their bus and a truck at a railway crossing.

That accident came months after a train carrying military conscripts derailed, killing 17 people, and almost a year after 47 schoolchildren were killed when a train crashed into their bus.

Both the transport minister and the head of the railway authority head were forced to resign as a result of that accident, which was blamed on a train signal operator who fell asleep on the job.

The government also formed a panel to investigate the incident, but that did not prevent further accidents.

Egyptians have long complained that the government has failed to deal with chronic transport problems, with roads as poorly maintained as railway lines.

In Egypt’s deadliest train accident, in 2002, 373 people died when a fire ripped through a crowded train south of the capital.

© – AFP 2017

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