At least 32 people were killed Friday after two trains collided in southern Egypt, prompting renewed concerns about the safety of the country’s railway system.
The Associated Press reported that at least 165 people suffered injuries in the crash between a passenger train headed to the Mediterranean port of Alexandria and another train.
Egyptian Prime Minister Mustafa Madbouly said that investigators have not yet confirmed the cause of the crash, though Egypt’s Railway Authorities said that an unknown individual suddenly activated the emergency brakes on the passenger train, causing another train to rear-end it.
The collision caused two cars to derail and flip on their side, the railway agency said, according to the AP.
The news service reported that more than 100 ambulances arrived at the scene about 270 miles south of Cairo, along with two planes carrying a total of 52 doctors.
Videos and photos posted on social media showed a large group of individuals gathered around the derailed cars as some moved their way through to help passengers still trapped inside.
BREAKING: At least 32 killed, more than 60 injured in Egypt train collision - health ministry pic.twitter.com/nolFaZnC4W— BNO News (@BNONews) March 26, 2021
A passenger in one video could be heard saying, “Help us! People are dying!” the AP noted, while a female passenger who appeared to be upside down shouted, ”Get me out, boy!”
Madbouly told reporters Friday that Egypt’s railway service “has been neglected for decades to an extent that made it quite outdated and extremely dangerous.”
“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,” he added.
Official train figures recorded 1,793 accidents in 2017, according to the AP, the same year two passenger trains collided outside Alexandria, killing 43 people.
A year before that, a collision between two commuter trains near Cairo left at least 51 people dead.
Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi tweeted Friday that he would punish those responsible for the collision by “negligence,” “corruption” or any other means.
“The pain in our hearts today will only increase our resolve to end such disasters,” he wrote, extending his “full condolences” to the families of those killed in the crash.