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Egypt crash kills 49 schoolchildren; transportation chief resigns

November 17, 2012|By Reem Abdellatif
  • Children gaze at a train that collided with a school bus in southern Egypt.
Children gaze at a train that collided with a school bus in southern Egypt. (STR / EPA )

CAIRO — The Egyptian transportation minister resigned Saturday after 49 children were killed on their way to school in southern Egypt in a collision between their bus and a train.

The state-run news agency said a total of 51 people died in all in the accident near Mandara village in Assiut province. Another 16 were injured.

Before submitting his resignation and taking responsibility for the crash, Transportation Minister Mohamed Rashad Metiny requested an investigation by the national Railways System.

The bus, which was carrying 60 students, collided with the train as it was crossing the track.

Roads and railways in Egypt are known for their poor safety record. Many have not been renovated in 30 years. The accident Saturday was the second serious accident in the last two months.

In October, as many as six people died in a train crash near the Nile Delta. Police officials arrested the assistant conductor, who was put under investigation.

The railway system is a popular means of transportation for many of Egypt's 82 million citizens. Egyptians have repeatedly called on the government to invest in the rails and provide newer, safer train cars.

The country's crumbling infrastructure and hazardous transportation system serves as another obstacle for President Mohamed Morsi, who most Egyptians say failed to deliver on his promises in his first 100 day-plan as president. Morsi briefly addressed the nation after Saturday’s crash. He sent condolences and promised support to families of the deceased.

"President Mohamed Morsi is responsible and must follow up personally," the April 6 group, an activist organization said in a statement. "He is the one who chose this failed government whose disasters increase day after day."

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