18 Nov 2012

48 children dead after train slams into bus

7:41 am on 18 November 2012

Forty-eight children are dead after their school bus was hit by a train in central Egypt.

The bus driver and a woman passenger were also killed and more than a dozen people injured in the crash near Manfalut, 350km south of the capital Cairo, on Saturday. The children were aged four to six.

The provincial governor said the man in charge of the crossing was asleep and had been arrested. An eyewitness said the train pushed the bus about 1km along the track, the BBC reports.

Egyptian roads and railways have a poor safety record and an estimated 8000 people die in car accidents each year.

President Mohammed Mursi ordered his ministers to offer support to the families of those killed, the state news agency reported.

The transport minister and the head of the railway authority have resigned over the crash.

The country's worst train disaster was in 2002 when a fire ripped through seven carriages of an overcrowded passenger train, killing at least 360 people, Reuters reports.

Earlier in November, at least three Egyptians were killed and more than 30 injured in a train crash in Fayoum, another city south of Cairo. In July, 15 people were injured in Giza when a train derailed.