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At least 32 killed, 66 injured when two trains collide in Egypt

Dozens of ambulances on the scene in Tahta district of Sohag province, south of Cairo; Israeli embassy sends condolences to victims’ families

The scene of a collision between two trains in Egypt, March 26, 2020 (Screen grab/Twitter)
The scene of a collision between two trains in Egypt, March 26, 2020 (Screen grab/Twitter)

CAIRO — At least 32 people were killed and 66 injured Friday when two trains collided in southern Egypt, the health ministry said, the latest deadly rail accident to hit the country.

A statement said dozens of ambulances rushed to the scene in the Tahta district of Sohag province, some 460 kilometers (285 miles) south of the capital Cairo.

“32 people were killed and 66 injured” and transported to the hospital, the statement said.

Video footage seen by AFP showed several carriages overturned.

Egypt has been plagued with deadly train accidents in recent years that have been widely blamed on inadequate infrastructure and poor maintenance.

One of the deadliest occurred in 2002 when 373 people died as a fire ripped through a crowded train south of Cairo, and there have been many fatal crashes since.

In March last year, at least 13 people were injured when two passenger trains collided in Cairo, triggering a brief suspension of rail services nationwide.

At the time rail managers blamed the crash on signals not functioning in bad weather.

And in February 2019, a train derailed and caught fire at Cairo’s main railway station killing more than 20 people and prompting the transport minister to resign.

The Israeli Embassy in Egypt offered condolences to the families of the victims of Friday’s crash and a quick recovery to those injured.

Ever Given, a Panama-flagged cargo ship, is wedged across the Suez Canal and blocking traffic in the vital waterway, on March 26, 2021 (AP Photo/Mohamed Elshahed)

Friday’s crash comes as Egypt faces another major transport challenge, with a giant container ship blocking the Suez Canal and causing huge traffic jams at either end of the strategic shipping lane.

The MV Ever Given, which is longer than four football fields, has been wedged diagonally across the entire canal since Tuesday, shutting the waterway in both directions.

Tugboats and dredgers were working Friday to free the vessel as companies were forced to re-route services from the vital shipping lane around the southern tip of Africa.

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