A military train carrying some 1,328 Egyptian soldiers derailed on Tuesday, killing at least 19 Central Security Forces conscripts and injuring 107 others, many in critical condition, a spokesman from the Health Ministry said in a statement to local news agency MENA.
Health Ministry Spokesman Ahmad Omar also said that the injured soldiers were evacuated to various hospitals for medical treatment and that some were taken to hospitals near the accident site in the Badrasheen neighborhood of Giza.
While there was no further information available about the identities of those killed, a military official confirmed that the train had been traveling from the city of Assiut to Cairo. He confirmed that all passengers on the train were soldiers between the ages of 21 and 23.
State television reported "terrifying" scenes at the sight of the accident, with bodies covered in blood.
President Mohamed Morsi ordered the prime minister, the ministers of defense and health, and the governor of Assiut to provide all possible assistance to the victims, MENA reported.
Essam el-Erian, Morsi’s advisor, said in Facebook message that condolences to the families of the victims are not be enough.
“Special allocations of resources for the development of train transport and a revision of the distribution of coming resources to save the lives of people is the priority before anything else," he wrote.
The deadly incident comes less than two months after 48 elementary school children aged 7 to 9 were killed when their bus was hit by a train as it drove through a railway crossing in the Assiut village of Manfalout, in the south of Egypt.
Transport Minister Rashad al-Metini and the head of the Railway Authority resigned following the incident.
To begin with, we must offer our sincerest prayers of condolence to the spirits of the many victims of this terrible accident. We must also offer our heartfelt prayers that those injured quickly recover and rebuild their lives.
However, lets make a link between today’s terrible news and reports that the US and Egypt are on the verge of closing a large military deal wherein the Egyptian army will receive new F-16 fighter jets and M1A1 Abrams battle tanks. Surely it is better for the government to take more care of its internal reforms rather than making such an arms deals? In particular, shouldn’t Egypt be working to improve the maintenance of public facilities such as roads and railways?
I think that what the Essam el-Erian statement is true. However, it is not enough to criticize; he has to also put pressure on Morsi’s government to start work in this field and waste less time searching for the Mubarak regime's fiscal and political scandals.
If ministers and officials needed to use the railway then the situation would be very different, but because most officials in the third world deal with their people using the logic of "master and slave," such accidents occur in many countries. Egypt, which has a population of 91 million, has not carried out any real maintenance on its roads for many years. That is why the recurrence of such incidents are not very surprising.