Egypt crash: 37 dead as trains collide in coastal city of Alexandria

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Dozens of people have died and scores more were injured after two trains collided in Egypt.

State TV showed pictures of mangled wreckage after the two trains collided head-on in the northern coastal city of Alexandria on Friday afternoon.

At least 37 people have been reported dead and 123 more were injured, according to the country’s health ministry.

One eyewitness said the two trains mounted into the air “forming a pyramid” after they slammed into each other at a suburban station on the edge of the Mediterranean port city.

The head of the ambulance services in the Alexandria’s western sector, Dr. Mohamed Abu Homs, said the collision took place in the district of Khorshid, southeast of the city. 

One train was reportedly travelling from Cairo and the other had come from Port Said, at the Suez Canal.

As rescue teams pulled dead and injured from the damaged rail cars, public prosecutor Nabil Sadek ordered an urgent investigation.

A railroad switching error most likely caused the crash, a security source said without giving further details.

One resident, Hoda, was standing on her rooftop when she saw the trains collide.

“They rose in the air forming a pyramid when they collided,” she said. “I started to scream from the rooftops for people to grab some sheets and run.”

A health ministry spokesman said 75 ambulances had been deployed at the crash scene. Some people were still stuck inside the trains, a medical official told state TV.

“The train I was riding was going very quickly,” said passenger Moumen Youssef. “I found myself on the floor. When we came out, we found four train cars crushed and a lot of people on the ground.”

Egyptians have long complained that successive governments failed to enforce basic safeguards for the railways, leading to a string of fatal crashes.

In 2012, a train plowed into a school bus south of Cairo and killed 50 people, mostly children, inflaming public anger over Egypt’s antiquated transport network.

In Egypt’s worst train disaster, a fire tore through seven carriages of an overcrowded passenger train in 2002, killing at least 360 people. 

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