Five people were killed and another 100 were injured on Sunday when at least five carriages from a passenger train travelling north of the Egyptian capital Cairo overturned after they went off the rails, officials said.
The local government of Qalubiyah province where the accident took place said in a statement that 103 people were injured in the accident, but made no mention of fatalities.
However, local Health Ministry official Khaled Gamal later said that at least five people also died in the accident.
The Health Ministry said that 58 ambulances were involved in the emergency response to ferry the wounded to nearby hospitals.
The officials said the train was travelling from Cairo to the coastal city of Mansoura on the Mediterranean when the accident happened around 2pm local time.
Egyptian media reported that Transport Minister Kamel Al Wazir, a former army general who has been in the job for two years, was travelling to the crash site. Reports also said that an investigation team from the public prosecutor’s office would inspect the site and a committee had been formed to determine the cause of Sunday’s derailing.
No cause was given for Sunday’s accident, the second of its kind in less than a week in Egypt, where the railway service has been unreliable and accident-prone for decades but which is currently undergoing a multibillion-dollar upgrade.
Last Wednesday, two carriages from a train also travelling north of Cairo in the Nile Delta derailed, injuring 15 passengers and one rail worker on the ground.
Prosecutors said on Saturday that the April 14 derailment was caused by exceeding the speed limit in an area where repair work was in progress.
They have also blamed the train driver for ignoring standard procedure when travelling through the work area.
The latest deadly train crash in Egypt took place on March 26 in southern Egypt, which left at least 20 people dead and injured about 200.
In 2019, an engine car laden with fuel hit a wall at Cairo’s main train station, igniting a fire that killed 22 people and injured scores more.
Mr El Wazir, the transport minister, has said accidents will continue to take place until an ambitious overhaul of the railway is completed, warning passengers of frequent delays to ensure safety while the work is under way.
The government has spent 40 billion Egyptian pounds ($2.55bn) on upgrading Egypt’s railway network in the past six years and plans to spend 141 billion pounds more in the next few years to overhaul the service.