Photo: BBC News
50 infants were killed when a speeding train smashed into their bus at a level crossing in Egypt as it took them to school.Distraught parents afterwards rushed to the horrific scene near al-Mandara village in Manfaloot district in the province of Assiut, in central Egypt. The bus was carrying about 60 children, most between 4 and 6 years old, when it was hit. Gates at the railroad crossing had been left open, it was claimed.
Books, school bags and socks of children were strewn along the tracks near the mangled bus, which was carried along the train tracks for more than half a mile. Parents of the missing wailed in horror as they looked for signs of their children. A reporter with the Associated Press at the scene said many of the remains were unrecognizable.
Um Ibrahim, a mother of three, was pulling her hair in distress. “My children! I didn’t feed you before you left,” she wailed. As one man picked up a body part he screamed: “Only God can help!”
Two hospital officials said between seven and 11 wounded were being treated in two different facilities, many with severed limbs.
“They told us the barriers were open when the bus crossed the tracks and the train collided with it,” said Doctor Mohamed Samir. He said four children and two women were seriously injured.
Egypt’s railway system has a poor safety record, mostly blamed on badly maintained equipment and poor management. The railway’s worst disaster took place in February 2002 when a train heading to southern Egypt caught fire, killing 363 people. Thousands of people also die every year on the country’s roads, and the government has been criticised for not doing more to improve the dire situation.
The state news agency MENA reported that Transport Minister Mohammed el-Meteeni offered his resignation to President Mohammed Morsi. The agency said Mr Morsi ordered an investigation into the accident and said that those responsible would be held accountable.
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