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Train driver's negligence caused deadly Egypt crash, prosecutors say

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Egyptians gather around mangled train carriages at the scene of a train accident that killed at least 18 people and wounded 200 others including children, in Sohag, Egypt
Egyptians gather around mangled train carriages at the scene of a train accident that killed at least 18 people and wounded 200 others including children, in Sohag, Egypt   -   Copyright  AP Photo
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Two railway workers' negligence was responsible for last month's deadly train crash in Egypt, prosecutors say.

At least 18 people were killed and around 200 injured after two passenger trains collided near the southern town of Sohag on March 26.

Eight people, including the two train drivers, were arrested by prosecutors shortly after the crash.

Egypt’s railway authorities initially said the accident happened when the emergency brakes were activated on one train as it approached Alexandria, and it was struck from behind by another train.

According to investigators, the driver of the second train and his assistant were not at their posts at the time of the accident.

"They were not in the driver's cab, as they claim," the Egyptian general prosecutor's office said in a statement.

Prosecutors say the two workers had also deactivated the automatic train control system before the collision. It is also alleged that the assistant and a control tower guard had been smoking hashish and had taken tramadol, an opioid street drug.

The two suspects deny the allegations, and prosecutors are continuing to investigate.

Egypt's president, Abdel Fattah Al-Sissi, has promised sanctions against those responsible for the train crash.

The accident caused widespread public outcry in Egypt, a country where serious road and rail accidents are common.