A train collided on 27 April with a pick-up truck, Al-Amer level crossing in Suez (Photo: Ahram)
Egypt’s Public Prosecution ordered on Tuesday the detention of a railway technician responsible for manually closing level crossing barriers in a Suez village in the wake of a train crash that killed one.
The train, traveling from Ismailia to Suez, collided with a pick-up truck towing a trailer earlier on Tuesday on a railway crossing in Suez’s Al-Amer village.
One of the truck passengers died, while the driver and two train passengers were injured, according to a statement by the prosecution.
Witnesses told the prosecution the level crossing, which is manually closed when trains pass, was open when the accident took place.
The prosecution said it inspected the scene and found that the crossing was primitive and has no railway signals and alarm bells.
This requires the crossing to be manually opened and closed with barriers, the prosecution said, noting that it found one of the chains closing the crossing unlocked.
A witness told the prosecution that the train collided with the truck and dragged it for a distance of around 40 meters until the train could stop.
The truck driver told the prosecution he passed through the level crossing after making sure it was opened and was shocked with the train colliding with the vehicle from the left.
A railway observer told the prosecution he notified the workers at the level crossings of Al-Amer and Al-Omda villages that the train is coming so that they place the barriers to prevent cars from passing.
A microbus driver who was behind the truck at the time of the accident and the two injured train passengers told the prosecution the level crossing was open for cars to pass.
The prosecution informed the railway technician of the testimonies but he denied them, affirming that he closed the level crossing when he was informed that the train was coming.
The incident is the fourth of its kind in a month. Train accidents occurred recently in Sohag, Sharqiya and Qalyubia governorates.
Dozens of train passengers died and hundreds were injured in the deadly crashes of Sohag and Qalyubia.
Last week, Egypt’s Transport Minister Kamel El-Wazir dismissed chairman of the state-run National Railways Authority Ashraf Raslan from his position and assigned a new head.
Appearing before parliament on Monday, El-Wazir called for introducing legislation that would allow the dismissal of extremists, saboteurs, and drug users working at the country's railway facility.
He went on to say that "instigating elements, extremists, and drug abusers" are among the employees of the facility.
He also asserted that some “boys” are being incited to loosen the nails off tracks and throw stones at the rails, which causes trains to turn over.