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He dreamed of becoming a Quran reciter: Mother of Assiut accident victim

Ahram Online speaks to one of the families that lost their children in the tragic Assiut train-bus accident Saturday

Osama Seddiq, Sunday 18 Nov 2012
Assiut
An injured child from Assiut's fatal accident lying on a gurney (Photo: Osama Seddiq)
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Ashraf Hashem, a father of five, ran to the rail tracks when his wife called to tell him that a train had hit the school bus carrying three of their children in Upper Egypt's Assiut governorate.

"Was anyone injured?" Hashem asked the police. "The question should be is anyone alive," they replied.

"I ran to the site of the accident screaming while looking for my sons through remains and body parts," Hashem told Ahram Online.

A few minutes later Hashem broke down inside the morgue where he found the bodies of his three children, Ahmed, Mohamed and Hashem.

Mohamed, the eldest son, was described by his parents as a lovely son, brother and an outstanding student. He was in the 6th grade and had dreamed to record his own Quran recitals and share it on the internet.

"My oldest son knew the Quran by heart. He used to urge me to pray. He had a beautiful voice when reciting Quran," his mother said.

The mother's words were interrupted with tears and cries; however, she comforts herself with the belief that "god has taken them, and that this for them will be better."

"They're in a better place, but still breaking away from them is just hard. I can no longer look at their beds," she sobbed.

Hashem's misery is shared by tens of families who had lost their children as a result of Saturday's tragic accident.

While families continue to mourn, investigations still continue with no one held accountable for the accident until now.

On Saturday, the Public Prosecution called in the minister of transport, head of the Railway Authority, and the crossing guard for questioning over the accident.

The circumstances behind the accident remain vague as statements conflict with one another.

The prosecution's investigations revealed on Saturday that the bus carrying the children was in a decrepit state, adding that it was designed to carry a maximum of 29 passengers, not the 69 who were on board at the time of the tragedy.

On Saturday, officials from the Railway Authority had claimed that the bus driver drove the school bus over the tracks despite the fact that the warning lights and sirens were sounding. 

The train driver, however, said that no signal was given for him to stop.

Furthermore, on Sunday, the assistant head of the Railway Authority in Upper Egypt said that the Mandara rail track where the accident took place is not equipped with sirens at all.

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