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Eight people arrested in Egypt over deadly train crash, prosecutors say

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Egypt's troubled rail system has been plagued by poor maintenance and management.
Egypt's troubled rail system has been plagued by poor maintenance and management.   -   Copyright  AP Photo
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Egyptian authorities have arrested eight people in connection with a deadly train crash on Friday.

Two train drivers and railway officials were among those detained, Egypt's public prosecutor's office announced on Monday.

At least 18 people were killed and around 200 injured after the two passenger trains collided near the southern town of Sohag.

Egypt’s Railway Authorities said the accident happened when someone activated the emergency brakes on one train as it approached the Mediterranean city of Alexandria.

It broke abruptly and was then struck from behind by another train, causing two cars from the first vehicle to flip over.

Authorities had initially put the death toll at 32 but revised the number down in their statement on Monday.

"The prosecutor general ordered the arrest of the two drivers of train 157, their two assistants, the traffic control officer of Al-Maragha station" in Upper Egypt and three other officers, the prosecutor general said in a statement.

Investigators say they have spoken to "133 injured people" as part of the probe, as well as three policemen "in charge of train security", and several station employees.

Egypt’s railway system has a history of badly maintained equipment and poor management

The deadliest railway tragedy in the country's history occurred in 2002 when a train caught fire and killed more than 360 people south of Cairo.