Egypt: Up to 80 dead in train collision

Two passenger trains collide, four cars derail and overturn.

train crash 88 (photo credit: )
train crash 88
(photo credit: )
Two passenger trains collided in northern Egypt Monday, killing 36 and injuring 133, the Egyptian minister of health said. Unconfirmed reports put the death toll at 80. The early morning incident occurred in the town of Qalyoub, 20 kilometers (12 miles) north of the capital Cairo. Egyptian state television broadcast a telephone call from Minister of Health Hatem el-Gabaly announcing the increased death toll. Adly Hussein, governor of Qalyoubia province where the town is located, told Egyptian state television that two southbound trains headed for Cairo carrying commuters collided at about 7:45 a.m. (0445 GMT). Four cars derailed and overturned which required closing the lines from the Nile Delta cities of Benha and Mansoura, where the trains originated. The train from Mansoura was going at least 80 kilometers (50 miles) per hour when the collision occurred after itfailed to abide by a stop signal outside Qalyoub train station, police sources said speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to give statements to the media. The driver of the Mansoura train was killed and the locomotive overturned, police said. A fire that broke out as a result of the incident was extinguished, Hussein added. Egypt has a history of serious train accidents, which are usually blamed on poorly maintained equipment. Many of those incidents have occurred in the Nile Delta, north of the capital. The most recent accident, in February, saw 20 people injured when two trains collided at a Nile Delta station. Egypt's worst train disaster, in February 2002, killed 363 people, many of them headed home to the country's south for the Islamic calendar's most important holiday.