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Scores of school kids killed in Egypt's crash

Publication time: 17 November 2012, 12:39

At least 50 school children are killed when a train crashed into a bus in Manfalut city, state media says.

 

A speeding train crashed into a bus carrying children to their kindergarten in southern Egypt, killing at least 50 and wounding 17.

 

There were about 60 children between 4 and 6 years old on the bus when Saturday's crash occurred as the bus crossed tracks near a village in Manfaloot district in the southern province of Assiut. 

 

"There are several deaths and injuries among the pupils. They are being counted and taken to hospitals," Mamdouh al-Weshahi, a senior Health Ministry official, was quoted as saying.

 

Al Jazeera's Sherin Tadros, reporting from Cairo, said: "The severity of the wreckage was so bad that only 22 bodies or so came out in full and the rest are in remains."

 

"That is why it's difficult for the rescuers to operate in the area," she said.

 

Books, school bags and socks of children were strewn along the tracks near the mangled bus. Parents of the missing wailed as they looked for signs of their children

 

One witness said the train pushed the bus along the tracks for nearly a kilometre.

 

Two hospital officials said between the wounded were being treated in two different facilities, many with severed limbs. 

 

An Egyptian official said it appeared that the railroad crossing was not closed as the train sped towards it. He was speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorised to talk to the media.

 

President Mohamed Morsi has ordered the prime minister, the ministers of  defence and health and the governor of Assiut "to offer all the assistance to the families of the victims," MENA news agency said.

 

Transport Minister Rashad al-Metini and the head of the Egyptian Railway Authority have resigned in the wake of the accident, state media reported.

 

Egypt's railway system has a poor safety record, mostly blamed on badly maintained equipment, poor management and reckless driving.

 

Source: Agencies

 

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