Someone apparently applied the emergency brakes on the passenger train, and the train was terminated by another train, causing two cars to derail and roll sideways, Egyptian rail authorities said. The passenger train was heading for the Mediterranean port of Alexandria, north of Cairo, the statement said. The video showed twisted piles of metal with dust-covered passengers trapped inside – some bleeding and others unconscious. The spectators removed the dead and deposited them on the ground nearby.
A passenger was heard shouting on the video: “Help us! People are dying! A passenger seemed to be upside down, pressed under the seats and shouting, “Get me out, boy!”
WATCH | Dozens of dead after the crash of 2 trains in Egypt:
More than 100 ambulances were dispatched to the scene in Sohag province, about 440 kilometers south of Cairo, said Health Minister Hala Zayed, and the injured were taken to four hospitals. The injuries included fractures, cuts and bruises.
Two planes carrying a total of 52 doctors, most of them surgeons, were sent to Sohag, she added at a press conference in the province, accompanied by Prime Minister Mustafa Madbouly.
Those responsible to punish
President Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi said he was monitoring the situation and that those responsible would receive “dissuasive punishment”.
“The pain that tears our hearts today can only make us more determined to end this type of disaster,” he wrote on his Facebook page.
Egypt’s rail system has a history of poorly maintained equipment and mismanagement, and official figures indicate that there were 1,793 train accidents in 2017.
In 2018, a passenger train derailed near the southern city of Aswan, injuring at least six people and prompting authorities to fire the country’s railroad chief. That same year, el-Sisi said the government needed around 250 billion Egyptian pounds ($ 20 billion) to overhaul the rail system. The remarks came a day after a passenger train collided with a freight train, killing at least 12 people.
A year earlier, two passenger trains collided just outside Alexandria, killing 43 people. In 2016, at least 51 people were killed when two commuter trains collided near Cairo.
Egypt’s deadliest train crash occurred in 2002, when more than 300 people were killed after a fire broke out on a train traveling from Cairo to southern Egypt.