Train plows into school bus in Egypt, 50 killed

Sat Nov 17, 2012 11:59am EST
 

By Edmund Blair

CAIRO (Reuters) - Fifty people, mostly children, were killed when a train slammed into a school bus as it crossed the tracks at a rail crossing south of Cairo on Saturday, further inflaming public anger at Egypt's shoddy transport network.

Witnesses said barriers at the crossing were open when the train hit the bus. Transport Minister Mohamed Rashad and the head of the railways authority resigned, and President Mohamed Mursi said those responsible would be held to account.

The bus was broken in half by the force of the crash. Blood was spattered on the front of the engine and school bags and text books, some bloodstained, were strewn around.

All but two of the dead were children, aged around four to eight, said a senior security official in Assiut, near the crash site. One woman and the bus driver also died, he said.

Egypt's roads and railways have a poor safety record and Egyptians have long complained that successive governments have failed to enforce even basic safeguards, leading to a string of deadly crashes.

Prime Minister Hisham Kandil travelled to the area to review the situation. But devastated and angry people in one village from where the children had been picked up to travel to school said they would bar entry to any visiting officials.

"We won't accept any officials in the village. They only want to come to appear in the media," said Alaa Ahmed from al-Hawatka, where some children killed on the bus came from. They were travelling to a school near Manfalut, about 300 km (190 miles) south of Cairo.

Some victims' families protested at the crash site. Many other Egyptians across the nation were also shocked and angered.   Continued...

 
People gather near a train, with bloodstains, after it crashed into a school bus at Manflot in the southern city of Assuit, 500 km (310 miles) south of Cairo, November 17, 2012. REUTERS/Stringer