Badrashin, 4 Rabiul Awwal 1434/ 16 January 2013 (MINA) – A carriage in a train carrying hundreds of conscripts derails in Upper Egypt leaving at least 19 dead and more than 120 injured, the transportation ministry told Ahram Online.
Nineteen Central Security Forces conscripts were killed and 120 injured after a train carriage derailed minutes before midnight on Monday in the Giza town of Badrashin, according to a statement released by the ministry of transportation on Tuesday morning.
The 12-carriage train, which was carrying 1328 conscripts, was on route to Cairo from Upper Egypt when one of its cars – carrying around 200 soldiers – derailed hitting a goods train parked outside a storage depot.
As police forces carried out a rescue operation, witnesses said some soldiers battled for their lives under the rubbles of the derailed carriage, according to Ahram Online report received by Mi’raj News Agency (MINA)
A security official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told Ahram Online many of the wounded were in a critical condition, raising the possibility of a rise in the death toll during the next few hours.
Many ambulances ferried the injured to a nearby hospital while Egyptian officials started arriving at the scene around three hours after it the accident took place, Ahram Online’s Mohamed Nada said.
Hussein Zakareya, head of Egypt’s Railway Authority, said the derailed carriage hit another cargo train after it went off the rails.
The deadly incident comes less than two months after 51 schoolchildren were killed when their bus was hit by a train as it drove through a railway crossing in the Assiut village of Manfalout, Upper Egypt.
In the same month, November 2012, at least three Egyptians were also killed and more than 30 injured in a train crash in Fayoum, another city south of Cairo.
Dozens of train accidents have plagued the country during the past decade. In 2002, in one of the most deadly incidents, 373 passengers were killed after their train caught fire. Seven years later, at least 30 people died in another accident on the same railways.
Egyptians have long complained about poor levels of safety and maintenance in the out-of-date railway system. The Egyptian government vowed on numerous occasions to upgrade the ageing trains, but little had been accomplished in that regard.
“We have to admit that the railway system is decaying. We will carry out investigations to know whether the accident happened because of defects in the train or rails or because of other reasons,” transportation minister Hatem Abdel-Latif, who has been in office for 10 days, told Al-Ahram’s Arabic website.
Abdel-Latif recently replaced Rashad El-Metiny, who resigned in the wake of the Assiut school bus tragedy, in a partial cabinet reshuffle carried out by Prime Minister Hisham Qandil. (T.R-014/R-006)
Miraj News Agency (MINA)