August 21, 2006

Egyptian train crash kills up to 80

By Aziz El-Kaissouni

QALYOUB, Egypt (Reuters) - Two Egyptian trains collided on
Monday, killing up to 80 people and injuring twice that number
in a Nile Delta town north of Cairo, a security source said.

Early casualty figures varied widely. The official news
agency MENA said between 20 and 26 had died, whilst pan-Arab Al
Jazeera satellite television news reported 65 dead.

MENA said one of the drivers ignored railway traffic
signals, and one train rammed into the rear of the other in the
early morning accident.

A Reuters photographer at the scene said one train appeared
to have derailed and was lying on its side, split into four
parts, and appeared to have burned.

A score of ambulances rushed to the crash site, which was
sealed off to the public by a large security contingent, but
another person at the scene said the force of the crash ripped
seats from carriages, which were littered with clothes and

The carriages were crushed together like an accordion, he

About 1,000 bystanders and relatives of travellers anxious
for news gathered near the site outside the town of Qalyoub,
about 20 km (12 miles) north of Cairo.

Officials called on Egyptians to give blood over
loudhailers, and a queue formed in response.

The crash was the deadliest railway accident in Egypt since
about 360 were killed in 2002 when a fire ripped through seven
carriages of a crowded passenger train. That accident was the
worst in 150 years of Egyptian rail history and prompted the
transport minister and state railways boss to resign.