SOHAG, Egypt, March 26 (Xinhua) — At least 32 were killed and 108 others wounded as two trains collided on Friday in Egypt’s southern province of Sohag, said a Health Ministry statement.
Some 72 ambulances were sent to the scene to transfer the wounded to four public hospitals nearby, according to the ministry statement.
The wounded suffered fractions, cuts, abrasions in different parts of the body, Health Ministry spokesman Khaled Megahed said in the statement, noting all hospitals of the Upper Egyptian provinces are on utmost alert.
A plane loaded with medical staff and equipment and medicines has flown to Sohag, he added.
“A train from Luxor to Alexandria stopped when the emergency valve in one of the train carriages was pulled by unknown people,” the Ministry of Transportation said in a separate statement.
Another train bound for Cairo from Aswan later hit the stalled train from the back, derailing two of its carriages, the locomotive and a power carriage, the ministry statement added.
A technical committee has been formed to follow up on the situation and investigate the accident that took place in Tahta city, 467 km from the capital Cairo, according to the ministry.
“The accident was horrible, and the people helped the security men find the wounded inside the damaged carriages,” said Ahmad Refaat, a farmer who was just 300 meters away from the crash site.
Some bodies are still stuck inside the two carriages, Refaat added.
Meanwhile, Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi vowed “deterrent punishment for the culprits of the deadly train collision.”
“Whoever caused this tragic accident, whether through negligence or corruption or other reasons, will face deterrent punishment with no exceptions, reluctance or deferment,” Sisi said in a post on his Facebook page.
The President expressed condolences and promised proper compensations to the families of the victims.
Egypt’s Prosecutor General Hamada Al-Sawy has ordered an immediate investigation into the causes of the collision, after dispatching a team to the scene of the collision.
Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly and five ministers have headed to Sohag to deal with the deadly train crash.
He ordered urgent compensations for the families of the victims.
Egypt has a history of train accidents, the deadliest of which took place in 2003 leaving 300 killed.
Sisi said in 2018 said Egypt needed nearly 14 billion U.S. dollars to update its railway system. Enditem