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47 Die in Egypt Train Accident

October 19, 1998

CAIRO, Egypt (AP) _ A train jumped its tracks at a northern Egyptian station Sunday and careened through people and buildings alongside the tracks, killing at least 47 people.

Another 101 people were injured when the locomotive and the first two passenger cars toppled over and plowed through bystanders and shops, said Nabih Yousef Shaltout, a local health official.

Shaltout said most of the injured were passengers on the train, while most of the dead were town residents.

Egyptian television showed a crane moving toward one of the overturned train cars while scores of riot police fended off hundreds of wailing people.

Residents flocked to the local hospital to give blood, the official Middle East News Agency reported. Others at the site used their clothes to stanch the bleeding of the injured, the agency said.

The train was traveling from the port of Alexandria to Kafr el-Sheik when it derailed in the station of Kafr el-Dawar, a town about 20 miles southeast of Alexandria, the ministry said.

The train went off the rails when the driver changed tracks ``at high speed,″ the statement said.

A teen-ager who saw the crash, Hany Roushdy, said the train seemed unable to stop. ``It shot off the tracks and went toward the town square,″ he said.

A senior railway official, Mahmoud Marei, said the driver was speeding because some free-riding passengers had tampered with the brake system between the cars, the news agency reported.

Such trains usually are packed with hundreds of commuters and it is not uncommon for people to hitch a ride on the roof and between the cars.

The most serious accident on Egyptian railways in recent years was in December 1995 when two trains collided in fog south of Cairo, killing 75 people and injuring 76.

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