Two passenger trains collided in the south of Egypt yesterday, causing dozens of casualties, the health ministry said.
The incident took place in the village of al-Sawamaa in Sohag governorate in Upper Egypt, according to initial reports. State television reported 32 instant deaths and injuries to 66 people, citing the health ministry.
A health ministry source told Cairo 24 news earlier: “The number of injuries has exceeded dozens so far, and they have been transferred to Maragha Hospital, Tahta Hospital and Sohag Hospital.”
The governorate’s hospitals declared “a state of emergency” to receive casualties, the source added. Egypt’s railway authority said that the crash took place when emergency brakes were triggered by “unknown individuals”.
The brakes caused one of the trains to stop and the other to crash into it from behind. The authority is conducting further investigations, it said.
Videos and images shared by social media users showed graphic scenes of attempts to rescue some injured passengers from inside the carriages, with victims screaming for help.
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi commented on the collision on Facebook.
“I am closely following the tragic incident… The pain in our hearts today will only increase our determination to end such a pattern of catastrophes,” he wrote.
He pledged “deterrent punishment” for those responsible for the accident.
In his first statement on the incident later on Friday, Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly said he has instructed the relevant authorities to swiftly transfer the injured to hospitals for urgent care.
“The prime minister ordered the relevant officials to move immediately to the scene, to provide the necessary support, and to quickly deal with the situation there,” local media cited the cabinet as saying.
Egypt’s railway network has a long history of deadly collisions and has routinely been criticised for its poor safety standards.