Two trains have collided in southern Egypt, apparently after someone activated the emergency brakes, killing at least 32 people and leaving 165 injured, authorities said.
Dozens of ambulances rushed to the scene in the province of Sohag, according to a statement by Egypt’s heath ministry, and the wounded were transferred to four nearby hospitals. Their injuries included bone fractures, cuts and abrasions, the statement said.
Egypt’s Railway Authorities said the accident happened when someone activated the emergency brakes of a passenger train heading to the Mediterranean city of Alexandria. The train stopped abruptly and was hit from behind by another train, causing two carriages from the first train to overturn.
A plane carrying medical supplies and physicians has been dispatched from Cairo to Sohag, said the health ministry.
President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi said he was monitoring the situation and those responsible would be held accountable and receive “a deterrent punishment”.
“The pain that tears our hearts today cannot but make us more determined to end this type of disasters,” he wrote on his Facebook page.
Prime minister Mustafa Madbouly’s office announced he and five cabinet members would travel to the scene, more than 270 miles south of Cairo.
Egypt’s railway system has a history of badly maintained equipment and poor management. Official figures show that 1,793 train accidents took place in 2017 across the country.
The same year, Mr el-Sissi said the government lacked about 250 billion Egyptian pounds (£11.5 billion) to overhaul the rundown railway system, a day after a passenger train collided with a cargo train, killing at least 12 people, including a child.
A year earlier, two passenger trains collided just outside Alexandria, killing 43 people.
In 2016, at least 51 people were killed when two commuter trains collided near Cairo.
Egypt’s deadliest train crash took place in 2002, when more than 300 people were killed as a fire erupted in a train travelling from Cairo to southern Egypt.