Tahta: At least 32 people have been killed and 165 injured in a train crash in central Egypt, officials say. Carriages derailed and overturned when two passenger trains collided near the city of Tahta, Sohag province.
Emergency brakes were activated on the train in front by “unknown individuals”, causing the train behind to crash into it, the country’s railway authority said.
President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi pledged tough punishment for those responsible. “Anyone who caused this painful accident through negligence or corruption, or anything similar, must receive a deterrent punishment without exception or delay,” he tweeted. The incident happened about 365km (227 miles) south of the capital Cairo.
One of the trains was travelling between the southern city of Luxor and the Mediterranean port of Alexandria, while the other was travelling between the capital Cairo and the city of Aswan in southern Egypt. More than 70 ambulances were sent to the crash site to take the injured to hospitals.
“We need an official to come see what has happened. They can’t remove the people from underneath the trains,” a man at the scene told Newswire, adding that a crane was needed to help with rescue efforts.
“People are dead, we can’t even save the ones who are alive.”
Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly visited the site of the crash, promising financial compensation to the victims’ families.
Mr Madbouly said the government would continue to upgrade railway projects to prevent similar deadly accidents, Egypt’s Ahramonline website reports. Egypt has seen frequent accidents on its railway system due in part to poor maintenance and lack of investment.
One of the deadliest train disasters occurred in 2002 when 373 people died after a fire broke out on a train travelling south of Cairo.