15 killed by floods in Egypt on the road to Minya

AP and Ahram, Friday 31 Dec 2010

The last remaining survivors were today rescued from flood waters that swept away their bus, killing 14 school girls and one rescue worker

14 school girls and one rescue worker were killed on Wednesday when a bus carrying the students and their teachers was swept up in floods on the Minya-Assiout.

The bus was carrying 77 passengers, 51 of which were school girls.

Poorly equipped rescue workers and local residents struggled to save those on board the bus, which overturned late Wednesday in a deep trench created by strong flood currents along the highway leading to the city of Minya, 200 kilometres (124 miles) south of the capital, Cairo.

The last two survivors were pulled out of the waters in the early hours of Friday, a police report said, according to AP.

Eyewitnesses reported seeing bodies of young girls wearing headscarves and school uniforms floating in the water.

The dead included an ambulance driver who had rescued 20 of those on board the bus before the floods swept him away, the report said.

The school girls and their teachers had been on a trip to Minya and were returning home to the town of Assiut when the accident took place.

According to the police report, survivors recounted that the bus driver had stopped to have a closer look at the surrounding terrain, inundated with torrential rains and flooding when the waters suddenly swept them away.

Egypt's southern region, where roads are poorly maintained, was heavily affected during the rains and bad winter weather that afflicted the country earlier this week.

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