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At least 11 killed and close to 100 injured in train crash close to Cairo, Egypt

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By Euronews with AP
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Security forces stand guard as people gather at the site where a passenger train derailed, killing 11 and injuring at least 100 people, near Banha in Egypt
Security forces stand guard as people gather at the site where a passenger train derailed, killing 11 and injuring at least 100 people, near Banha in Egypt   -   Copyright  Tarek Wagih/AP
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At least 11 people have been killed and 10 railway officials arrested after a passenger train derailed north of Cairo, according to Egyptian authorities.

Close to 100 people were injured in the incident on Sunday after four train wagons ran off the rails in the city of Banha, just outside Cairo.

The Egyptian Health Ministry said in a statement that besides the dead, at least 98 people were injured, with most of them suffering from broken bones, cuts and bruises.

Some 58 were sent to the scene and the injured were taken to Banha University Hospital.

Images and videos posted on social media showed wagons overturned and passengers escaping to safety along the railway. Salvage teams could be seen searching for survivors and removing the derailed wagons.

Fadel Dawood/AP
People search for belongings at the crash site of the train, which was travelling from Mansoura to CairoFadel Dawood/AP

It is not yet clear what caused the train to derail, but the Egyptian state-owned Al-Ahram newspaper reported that at least 10 railway officials, including the train driver and his assistant, had been arrested pending an investigation into the crash.

At Banha University hospital, people lined up to donate blood for the crash victims on Sunday afternoon. Families were also present looking for loved ones who had been on the train.

“We were surprised by the strain speeding up,” said Tarek Gomaa, one of the injured. “We found ourselves on top of each other.”

Latest in a litany of train crashes in Egypt

The incident on Sunday came three weeks after two passenger trains collided in the Egyptian province of Sohag on March 25, killing at least 18 people and injuring 200 others, including children.

Prosecutors found that "gross negligence" by railway employees was behind the March 25 crash.

The Egyptian railway system has a long history of safety issues and mismanagement, with close to 1,700 train accidents recorded by the official statistics agency in 2017 alone.

President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi said in March 2018 that the government would need about 250 billion Egyptian pounds, or $14.1 billion, to overhaul the run-down rail system.

In February 2019 an unmanned locomotive slammed into a barrier inside Cairo’s main railway station, causing a huge explosion and a fire that killed at least 25 people. That crash prompted the then-transportation minister to resign.

In August 2017, two passenger trains collided just outside the Mediterranean port city of Alexandria, killing 43 people. In 2016, at least 51 people were killed when two commuter trains collided near Cairo.

Egypt’s deadliest train crash was in 2002, when over 300 people were killed after a fire broke out in an overnight train traveling from Cairo to southern Egypt.