Two trains collided on Friday in southern Egypt, causing three passenger cars to flip over, killing at least 32 people and leaving at least 66 injured, health authorities said. Dozens of ambulances rushed to the scene in the southern province of Sohag, according to a statement by Egypt’s heath ministry. At least 50 wounded were transferred to four nearby hospitals.
Egypt’s Railway Authorities issued another statement saying the accident happened when someone activated the emergency brakes of a passenger train that had been headed to the Mediterranean city of Alexandria. The breaks caused it to stop abruptly and be struck from behind by another incoming train. The collision caused two cars from the first train to flip over.
Local media displayed videos from the scene showing flipped cars with passengers trapped inside and surrounded by rubble. Some victims seemed unconscious, while others could be seen bleeding. Bystanders carried bodies and laid them out on the ground near the site.
Egypt’s railway system has a history of badly maintained equipment and poor management. Official figures show that 1,793 train accidents took place in 2017 across the country.
In 2018, a passenger train derailed near the southern city of Aswan, injuring at least six people and prompting authorities to fire the chief of the country’s railways.
The same year, President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi said the government lacks about 250 billion Egyptian pounds, or $14.1 billion, to overhaul the run-down rail system. El-Sissi spoke a day after a passenger train collided with a cargo train, killing at least 12 people, including a child.
A year earlier, two passenger trains collided just outside the Mediterranean port city of Alexandria, killing 43 people. In 2016, at least 51 people were killed when two commuter trains collided near Cairo.
Egypt's deadliest train crash took place in 2002, when over 300 people were killed when fire erupted in speeding train traveling from Cairo to southern Egypt.