21 killed, three injured when bus, truck crash in southern Egypt

CAIRO (AP) — A bus overturned while trying to pass a truck on a highway in southern Egypt on Tuesday, causing a collision that killed at least 21 people and injured three others, authorities said.

The bus was travelling from Cairo when it turned over and was hit by the truck on a road in the southern province of Assiut, 320 kilometres south of Cairo, Assiut Governor Essam Saad said in a statement. Both vehicles caught fire, it added.

The country’s public prosecutor’s office said the road was being reconstructed and there were no lights or traffic signs. It said that at least 18 bodies were completely burned and that the two drivers were among the dead.

Traffic accidents kill thousands every year in Egypt, which has a poor transportation safety record. Crashes are mostly caused by speeding, bad roads or poor enforcement of traffic laws.

The country’s official statistics agency said around 10,000 road accidents took place in 2019, the most recent year for which statistics are available, leaving over 3,480 dead. In 2018, there were 8,480 car accidents, causing over 3,080 deaths.

The authorities work on the collision site where a bus overturned while trying to pass a truck on a highway in southern Egypt near the city of Assiut, Egypt. PHOTO: AP

In the Nile Delta province of Sharqia, meanwhile, at least 15 people were injured when train cars derailed on Wednesday, the Health Ministry said. There were no fatalities, it said.

Local media quoted Sharqia Governor Mamdouh Ghorab as saying two carriages of a train coming from Cairo ran off rails at the town of Minya el-Qamh. It was not immediately clear what caused the train to derail.

The train accident came three weeks after two passenger trains collided in the province of Sohag, killing at least 18 people and injuring 200, including children.

Prosecutors said earlier this week they found that gross negligence by railway employees was behind the March 25 crash, causing a public outcry across the country.

Hundreds of train accidents are reported every year in Egypt, where the railway system has a history of badly maintained equipment and mismanagement. Egypt’s deadliest train crash was in 2002, when over 300 people were killed after a fire broke out in an overnight train travelling from Cairo to southern Egypt.