Monday, August 21, 2006

Tragedy in the land of the Nile...

Egyptian train collision kills up to 80

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 burnt.

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 shoes.

The carriages were crushed together like an accordion, he said.
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.

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