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Egypt cargo train crashes into minibus, kills 26

Head of railway authority says minibus driver ignored warning lights and chains blocking entry to track; 26 dead, 27 wounded in crash in Giza governorate

AFP, Ahram Online, Monday 18 Nov 2013
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Rescue workers try to pull bodies from under debris early on Monday,Giza, Egypt, 18 November, 2013 (Photo: Ahram Arabic news website)
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At least 26 people were killed in Egypt when a cargo train ploughed into a truck and a minibus at a railway crossing near Dahshour in Giza governorate (35 km South of Cairo) early Monday, Egypt's health ministry said.

Another 27 people were wounded in the accident. Local police chief Kamal El-Dali told state television the minibus was carrying guests home from a wedding.

The head of the Egyptian Railway Authority said the vehicles had ignored warning lights and chains blocking entry, and tried to drive through the crossing.

"The bus stormed the crossing, according to initial reports," Hussein Zakaria told state television.

"The crossing was closed with chains, there were warning lights," he said.

The train, whose driver survived the crash, continued for almost one kilometre before coming to a halt, he said.

Health ministry spokesman Mohamed Fatahallah said the bodies of the victims had been transfered to four separate morgues.

Two watchmen at the railway crossing have been arrested, Al-Ahram Arabic news website reported.

Egypt's rail network has a poor safety record stemming largely from lack of maintenance and poor management.

In January, 17 people died when a train transporting conscripts derailed, and in November 2012, 47 school children were killed when a train crashed into their bus.

Both the transport minister and the railway authority head were forced to resign as a result of that accident, which was blamed on a train signal operator who fell asleep on the job.

The government formed a panel to investigate, but as with similar tragedies in the past, it did little to shed light on the details and less still to bring about accountability.

In Egypt's deadliest railway tragedy, the bodies of more than 360 passengers were recovered from a train after a fire in 2002.

Egyptians have long complained that the government has failed to deal with the country's chronic transport problems, with roads as poorly maintained as railway lines.

Monday's accident took place days after train services resumed completely across the country, after they were halted due to unrest following the overthrow of president Mohamed Morsi in July.

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medo
18-11-2013 10:44am
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really??
"The bus stormed the crossing, according to initial reports..... HOW CAN A BUS STORM A CROSSING IF THE CROSSING WAS CLOSED WITH CHAINS?? This would mean someone would have had to remove the chains, right? Meaning they would have seen the train..... something does not sound right here!
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Farid
18-11-2013 09:13am
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Crazy Micro-bus Drivers
At first, my condolences to families of the victims. I think we all know the way of driving of micro-bus drivers in Egypt - there is no traffic rules for them. I think its a right time to withdraw their driving licences and make them pass course again with proper knowledge of rules, as at the end they serving in benefit of public transportation, and they should obey traffic rules more than anyone else.
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Farid
18-11-2013 05:00pm
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@ Mido
It is driver responsibility to stop before crossing railway tracks, at least by law in all civilized countries. On other article is clearly stated: "The train driver said he sounded warning bell dozens of times for the crossing to be closed, but to no avail", and next: "Initial investigations have shown the crossing lacked chains to prevent vehicles crossing the track, but the alarm lights were functioning properly". And YES, this accident does have everything with the driver who "should be" responsible for his passengers and check situation before crossing tracks. And still, we all know how micro-bus drivers act on roads and their mentality of thinking.
medo
18-11-2013 02:36pm
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@farid
THIS incident has nothing to do with the driver.... the crossing was open, no chains, no gates and no alarms to inform the driver of the coming train. Do please read the story before you comment and say things concerning people who died in a situation that they had no control over.
Farid
18-11-2013 01:34pm
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@ Khalid: This is not political discussion or issue
This is about ignorant drivers who act on the road like they are only car in the world. This way of thinking has to change through more strict driving courses and to obey traffic regulations. And please keep politics/religion out of the quota, its not an issue here.
Khalid
18-11-2013 12:55pm
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dont blame drivers
No, blaming driver means you are saving Islamists behind this incident.Islamists are and Anti Army elements are behind this,to defame the General CC and interim Gov.
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