At least 24 people have died after a cargo train crashed into a number of vehicles, including a mini bus, crossing the tracks south of Egypt’s capital Cairo.
Most of the dead were from the same family returning to the southern city of Fayyou after a wedding party in Cairo, the head of the Giza security sector, Kamal el-Dali, told state TV.
Emergency services chief Ahmed el-Ansari said the identities of the dead were not immediately clear. 28 people were injured, mostly with fractures, crush injuries and lost body parts, with some in critical condition. The scene had been cleared of victims, he added.
A security official said the train, carrying construction materials, hit at least three vehicles near the village of Dahshur, about 25 miles south of Cairo as it travelled from the southern city of Beni Suef.
The head of Egypt’s railway, Hussein Zakaria, told state TV that initial reports indicated the crossing gates of the tracks had been closed and the train’s driver was surprised to see vehicles still crossing.
“What could the guards have done? Stand in front of the bus?” Zakaria said. “The initial reports show no negligence … We shall wait for the investigation.”
Egypt is notorious for train collisions and has a poor safety record that is mostly blamed on decades of badly maintained equipment.
Almost exactly a year ago, 51 children were killed as they travelled to school in the governorate of Assiut when a train crashed into their bus.
The transport minister and the head of the railways resigned following the incident.