Authorities ignored safety complaints before Assiut crash: Railway workers

Ahram Online, Monday 19 Nov 2012

Railway worker says authorities ignored warnings that Assiut rail crossing needed repairs before accident that killed 50 people, mostly children, on Saturday

Relatives of victims gather near a train, with bloodstains (Photo: Reuters)

Authorities ignored previous warnings that the railway crossing in Assiut where a train-bus crash killed 50 people on Saturday required repairs, a lawyer for the one of the crossing workers under investigation said.

Crossing workers had submitted several complaints to the railway authority stating the crossing's alarm system and telephone were broken at the the Mandara crossing, the site of the disaster, according to the lawyer.

Youssef Younan, the train driver who is also facing charges in the case, has told the prosecution that he did not break the speed limit before the crash. He added that workers at the crossing did not turn on the emergency alarm.

The prosecution has attempted to obtain testimonies from hospitalised children, but the six who were able to speak said they saw nothing before the train crashed into their school bus.

The prosecution has found no evidence so far that the bus driver breached any safety gates, despite claims to the contrary by the railway authority.

Fifty people died when a train hit a school bus on the track in Manfalout village in Assiut on Saturday. Eighteen were also injured, including seven in a critical condition. The interior ministry later confirmed that most of the dead were children. The bus driver and his assistant were also killed.


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