Two trains collided in southern Egypt on Friday, leaving 32 people dead and more than 100 others wounded. Authorities confirmed the accident, saying that the passengers in one train activated the passenger brake. The train stopped abruptly and was struck from behind by the incoming train. The collision caused three passenger cars to flip over, trapping hundreds of passengers underneath.
According to the details, the accident occurred in the Egyptian province of Sohag on Friday when a train heading for the Mediterranean city Alexandria violently collided with another incoming train.
The Egyptian health ministry has said that 72 ambulances and medical reinforcements have been sent on the scene. Images of the accident show a large gathering around the twisted wreckage of the train.
Viral videos of the episode on social media show passengers crying and complaining that not even a single crane has reached the site to pull up the derailed passenger cars and rescue the people trapped underneath.
Egyptian railway authorities blamed the passengers aboard the train for the incident, saying that the emergency brakes were triggered by “unknown assailants”. The train abruptly stopped and was hit from behind by another train. Three passenger cars flipped, killing 32 and critically wounding 100 others. Authorities have said that they are further investigating the accident.
Egyptian President Fateh el-Sissi has said that he is monitoring the situation and promised dire punishment for the culprits.
“Anyone who caused this painful accident through negligence or corruption, or anything similar, must receive a deterrent punishment without exception or delay,” el-Sisi said on Twitter.
“The pain that tears our hearts today cannot but make us more determined to end this type of disasters,” he wrote on his Facebook page.
Experts say that the Egyptian railway system has a history of badly maintained equipment and poor management. The government has not paid enough attention to renew the infrastructure or renovate the railway lines. Official figures show that almost 1800 train accidents had occurred in 2017 alone. In 2018, the number of accidents had crossed 2000.
In 2018, for example, a passenger train derailed in the city of Safwan, injuring at least 6 people. In another incident a cargo train collided with a passenger train, killing 12 people on the spot. A day later, President el-Sissi said that his government lacks the required funds – $15 billion – to overhaul the country’s run-down rail system.
A year earlier two trains collided just outside of Alexandria, killing 43 people. In 2016, 51 people were killed when two commuter trains collided near Cairo. The deadliest train accident in Egyptian history occurred in 2002 when a fire erupted in a train travelling to southern Egypt. More than 300 people were burned to death in the incident.