At least 11 people were killed and another 98 were injured on Sunday when at least five carriages of a passenger train travelling north of the Egyptian capital Cairo overturned after they went off the rails, the Health Ministry said.
The accident took place near the town of Toukh in Qalubiyah province in the Nile Delta north of Cairo. A total of 60 ambulances were involved in the emergency response to ferry the wounded to nearby hospitals, said the ministry.
The train was travelling from Cairo to the coastal city of Mansoura on the Mediterranean when the accident happened around 2pm local time.
Health Minister Hala Zayed travelled to the site of the accident and visited the injured who were taken to hospitals in the nearby city of Banha.
Local media outlets said Transport Minister Kamel Al Wazir, a former army general who has been in the job for two years, was travelling to the crash site.
An investigation team from the public prosecutor’s office would inspect the site and a committee had been formed to determine the cause of Sunday’s derailing, according to officials.
No cause was given for Sunday’s accident, the second of its kind in less than a week in Egypt, where the railway service has been unreliable and accident-prone for decades but which is currently undergoing a multibillion-dollar upgrade.
Last Wednesday, two carriages from a train also travelling north of Cairo in the Nile Delta derailed, injuring 15 passengers and one rail worker.
Prosecutors said on Saturday that the April 14 derailment was caused by exceeding the speed limit in an area where repair work was in progress.
They also blamed the train driver for ignoring standard procedure when travelling through the work area.
On March 26, 20 people died and about 200 were injured when a train ran into another train making an unscheduled stop in southern Egypt.
In 2019, an engine car laden with fuel hit a wall at Cairo’s main train station, igniting a fire that killed 22 people and injured scores more.
Mr El Wazir, the transport minister, has said accidents will continue to take place until an ambitious overhaul of the railway is completed, warning passengers of frequent delays to ensure safety while the work is under way.
The government has spent 40 billion Egyptian pounds ($2.55bn) on upgrading Egypt’s railway network in the past six years and plans to spend 141 billion pounds more in the next few years to overhaul the service.