Friday, March 26, 2021

Sohag Train tragedy : A return to the bad train accidents curse in Egypt “Graphic”

It is as if Egypt has not enough trouble this week with the Ever Given blocking the Suez, it ends the week with another tragedy:  A horrible train collision killing over 30 people and injuring over 100 others.

The tragedy started at 12:04 PM Sohag Local time when two trains collided in a rural village in the city of Tahta in Sohag governorate

Train “157” collided with “air-conditioned” Alexandria-Luxor train causing three train passenger cars to derail and flipped over.

The trains after the collision "Getty images"
The trains after the collision "Getty images" 

The result is at least 32 dead people and 108 injured according to the latest toll by the Egyptian Ministry of Health. 

ِAccording to the latest statements of Minister of Health Hala Zayed 19 people were killed and 185 were injured 

The injured's condition is between moderate to critical. 

In some sad coincidence, the accident took place near a cemetery inside that village in Tahta.

The victims were transferred to local hospitals after being saved by the locals before the authorities would arrive at the scene and lift up the trains.

In fact, the citizens tried to lift up the trains and open an exit for the victims to save them on time.

The local citizens also created a makeshift bridge over a pond between the village and accident location to transfer the victims.

The citizens transferring the injured through the pond 

The citizens hurried to donate their blood to the hospitals which already under the pressure of the coronavirus pandemic.

Blood donors sitting on the floor in a  Sohag hospital
Blood donors sitting on the floor in a 
Sohag hospital 

I was told that the locals offered blankets for the injured and the restaurants provided food for free for the stranded passengers. The Mosque was open in the city to provide shelter for the stranded travellers 

It is like the local citizens save the day for real.

It is one of the worst train accidents since the Cairo Ramses Station incident in 2019.

According to the early statement issued by the Railway Authority, the collision took place when some “anonymous people” pulled the brakes in some passenger cars I understood correctly and caused the accident.

Currently, the Egyptian Prosecution is investigating the collision and Egypt’s Prosecutor General Hamada El-Sawy has travelled to the location of the trains himself.

The prosecution issued another statement urging all parties not to publish anything related to the investigations

The government announced that it would pay LE 100,000 to the deceased victims and between LE 20,000 to LE 40,000 to the injured victims according to their injuries.

President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi mourned the victims and gave his directives to hold those responsible for this act accountable for their actions.

The national mourning has not been announced to mourn the victims yet some TV hosts wore black.

The train after the collision and flipping over by Ahmed Gomaa

The videos are horrifying. Now thanks to the social media and the live stream feature we have got the moment of the collision.

Here is the exact moment the collision happened from a CCTV camera.

The lives of hundreds of people turned upside down at that exact moment.

After that one of the passengers had started live streaming on Facebook from inside the train and it is heartbreaking, graphic and sad. 

The young man's name is Raheel Abu Amar and he is a conscript heading for his military service along with his colleagues along with his cousin after finishing their vacation. Some of them did not make it.

“Save us, people, we are stuck,” He said wondering where the officials are. He showed the injured and the dead. 

“Share the stream, let the people know” He screamed. The young man cries and says that his friend Emad has just died.  He lost also his cousin Ahmed Mohamed

Late Ahmed Mohamed May Allah bless 
his soul

He lost his friend Hussein Aref too. 

Late Hussein Aref May Allah bless
his soul

Raheel cursed and swore in anger in a thick Upper Egyptian accent while his face was covered with dust. You can hear the banging on a metal door in the flipped over train and women screaming from behind

Some of the victims were conscripts from the boots left on the train.

For 35 minutes we saw what happened first hand. 

The video is on YouTube and I can’t embed it due to age restriction.

Another horrifying video showing the disaster. 

Needless to say, the Sohag trains news took the trend from the Suez canal. “#Sohag” hashtag and #Tahta hashtag in Arabia are trending with the same reactions as every train accident we have had.

It is frustrating.

Luggage that did not reach its intended destination 

The name of transportation minister “Kamel Al-Wazir” is also trending in Arabic is trending too.

I once wondered if Al-Wazir, the once-star commander of the engineering corps in the Egyptian army will survive the trains curse in Egypt when he was appointed as the minister of transportation. Can he break the curse !?

Al-Wazir is in hot water already. He apologized on Saturday for the accident and announced that LE 225 billion were allocated to upgrade the Egyptian railways' system. 

Well, there are millions of dollars spent as usual in upgrading the improving the railways in Egypt but we have not yet seen the results of those plans and still deadly accidents taking place.

It is a matter of time I believe and we will see if he makes it out of this curse or not.

Now I am afraid to say that this is another deja vu accident, it is frustrating because the same statements and reactions repeated in an ugly way. We are going in a closed cycle as long there's no accountability and transparency. 

May Allah bless the souls of the victims.

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