UPDATE 4: South Sinai deadly buses collision leaves 38 killed; drivers detained

Hany El-Asmar, Friday 22 Aug 2014

The government has detained the drivers for questioning and a drug test; a criminal act so far ruled out; 19 bodies unidentified; road might lack radar (GALLERY)

Rescue workers retrieving bodies from scene of the accident
(Photo: Ahram)

South Sinai prosecutor, Mohamed Abdel-Salam, has ordered the detainment of the two drivers of two buses that collided early Friday morning in South Sinai leading to the deaths of 38 passengers and the injury of 41 others.

The prosecution plans to question the injured drivers and conduct a drug test once their condition allows.

A team from the prosecution also headed to Sharm El-Sheikh International Hospital and El-Tor General Hospital, where the injured were transferred, to listen to their testimonies.

At least 38 were killed and 41 injured in the early hours of Friday when two tourist buses collided in Egypt’s South Sinai on the El-Tor - Sharm El-Sheikh freeway, a ministry of health official had told Ahram Arabic news website.20 of the 41 injured have been discharged, Abdel-Salam said.

He added that the authorities have not been able yet to identify 19 bodies, including two children, among the 38 dead .

14 bodies have been identified so far, he said.

Burial permite have been issued for 33 bodies, he added.

Hatem Amin, the head of South Sinai security directorate, has ruled out any criminal foul play describing the disaster as a road accident.

Bodies of the killed and injured were retrieved from the wreckage, Undersecretary of the Ministry of health in South Sinai governorate Mohamed Lasheen said.

Lasheen added that thirty ambulances were immediately sent to the scene of the accident.

Later in the day, the health ministry sent additional ambulances and rescue workers to transport the bodies of the killed to hospitals.The additional ambulances were dispatched from the neighbouring governorates of Ismailia, Suez and North Sinai.

The two buses were carrying around 80 passengers from Cairo to Sharm El-Sheikh resort including 4 foreign tourists: two Saudi nationals, a Yemeni and a Ukrainian tourist who are among the injured.

All those who were killed are Egyptians.

Thirty-seven of the injured were transported to Sharm El-Sheikh International Hospital, while four were transported to El-Tor Sinai General Hospital.

The road was closed for three hours to facilitate access for ambulances.

A team from South Sinai’s prosecution was sent to the scene to investigate the cause of the accident. The prosecution also delegated a technical team to examine the buses and determine their speed at the time of the collision.

The governor of South Sinai Khaled Fouda stressed that El-Tor International road meets international standards.

However, an anonymous source in the South Sinai governorate told Ahram Arabic newswebsite that El-Tor International road, starting from the Ahmed Hamdi tunnel, which links the two banks of Suez Canal, until the city of Sharm lacks radar services.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), road accidents are considered one of the main causes of death in the country.

Around 18 people were killed daily in road accidents in Egypt in 2013, according to a recent report from the Central Agency for Public Mobilisation and Statistics (CAPMAS), the country's statistical body.

A total of 50,051 accidents took place in 2013, 0.04 percent higher than in 2012, according to the report, with the highest number of accidents occurring in December (5,105).

Rescue workers on the scene of the deadly crash near Sharm (Video: Ahram)

Short link: