A train crash north of Sohag, Egypt on Friday killed at least 32 people and injured 165 more when an unknown person engaged the emergency brakes of one train, causing another one to collide with it, according to Egypt Railway Authorities.
Local media coverage of the aftermath showed train cars derailed above a water channel and videos of the scene showed people screaming in a soot-covered train car that was ripped open.
Some passengers tried to help others after the crash and nearby residents carried the deceased and injured off the road and into ambulances, The Associated Press reported.
Two planes carrying doctors flew to Sohag to help the injured, and a military plane was used to bring the most severe cases to Cairo, according to the AP. More than 100 ambulances responded to the crash site.
Egypt’s president vows punishment
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi said whoever was responsible for the crash would be punished.
“Anyone who caused this painful accident through negligence or corruption, or anything similar, must receive a deterrent punishment without exception or delay,” he tweeted, according to the BBC.
He also wrote on his Facebook page, “The pain that tears our hearts today cannot but make us more determined to end this type of disasters.”
According to Egyptian Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly, the railway service in Egypt has been neglected and upgrades were long overdue.
“The (railway) service has been neglected for decades to an extent that made it quite outdated and extremely dangerous,“ Madbouly told reporters, according to the AP. “We have spent billions to upgrade the railway but we still have a long way to go in order to complete all the required work.”
Hundreds of deadly accidents
Local officials said there were 1,793 train accidents in Egypt in 2017, the latest year for which numbers were available, according to AP. The chief of railways was fired in 2018 after another derailment injured six people and a collision killed 12 more.
The families of those killed in Friday’s accident will receive the equivalent of $6,400 in compensation from the government, Madbouly said, and the injured will receive between $1,280 to $2,560, depending on the severity of their injuries.
This was far from the deadliest train crash in Egypt, however. In 2002, a fire broke out in a train traveling from Cairo to southern Egypt, killing over 300 people.