Skip to main content

Egyptian transport minister resigns after deadly train crash

A train derailment in the capital's Ramses station caused a devastating explosion, killing at least 22 people
A member of security forces gestures as rescue workers and people gather at the scene after a fire caused deaths and injuries at the main train station in Cairo (Reuters)

Egypt's transport minister Hisham Arafat resigned on Wednesday following a deadly train crash in Cairo that killed at least 22, a cabinet statement said.

A high-speed train entering Cairo’s main railway station from Alexandria rammed into a barrier causing an explosion in the fuel tank, which in turn resulted in one of the station's main buildings catching fire, the state newspaper Ahram reported.

Eyewitness and local media pictures showed horrifying scenes of charred bodies lying on the tracks and the platform. Dozens of people were injured, according to state media.

Translation: "12 Ambulances at the scene to transport the dead and injured"

"I was standing on the platform and I saw the train speed into the barrier," eyewitness Mina Ghaly told Reuters news agency.

"Everyone started running but a lot of people died after the locomotive exploded... I saw at least nine corpses lying on the ground, charred."

Rail services at Ramses station have been temporarily suspended and the station has been evacuated as ambulances and firefighters arrived at the scene.

CCTV footage showed the moment the speeding train rammed into the barrier, causing the explosion.

Warning: Graphic footage

Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly said an investigation would be opened and that those responsible for the accident would be held accountable.

“We will immediately work on alleviating the suffering of the victims, but more importantly we will identify those who are responsible and punish them,” he told reporters from the scene of the blaze.

Egypt’s railway network has a long history of deadly collisions and has routinely been criticised for its poor safety standards.

The country’s worst rail disaster occurred in 2002 when at least 370 people were killed after a fire broke out in seven third-class carriages in a passenger train south of Cairo.