A collision between two trains killed at least 32 passengers and left more than 100 injured in southern Egypt, a country plagued by fatal rail accidents widely blamed on crumbling infrastructure and poor maintenance.
President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi pledged tough punishment for those responsible for the crash, which came as his government wrestles with another major transport challenge, a giant container ship blocking the Suez Canal and causing huge traffic jams at either end.
The health ministry said dozens of ambulances rushed to the scene in the Tahta district to the scene in Sohag province, some 460 kilometers south of the capital Cairo after the collision.
Thirty-two people were killed and 108 were injured, the health ministry said in an updated casualty toll.
One of the trains was traveling between the southern city of Luxor and Alexandria on the Mediterranean coast, while the other was on the way between Cairo and the southern city of Aswan.
Health Minister Hala Zayed travelled to Sohag to check on the injured, as authorities opened an investigation into the accident. President Sisi vowed “deterrent punishment” for anyone found responsible for the collision.
Harrowing images from inside one of the carriages were posted on Facebook, which showed men and women screaming for help as they tried to free themselves from the wreckage. “People are dying. Where are the authorities? Help us,” one young man shouted repeatedly.
“Anyone who causes this painful accident through negligence or corruption, or anything similar, must receive a deterrent punishment without exception or delay,” he tweeted.
One of the deadliest train accidents in Egypt was in 2002 when 373 people died as a fire ripped through a crowded train south of Cairo and since then, there have been numerous fatal crashes.