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Dozens killed as trains collide in Egyptian city of Alexandria

Last Updated Aug 11, 2017 3:57 PM EDT

CAIRO — Two passenger trains collided on Friday just outside Egypt’s Mediterranean port city of Alexandria, killing at least 40 people, according to the Health Ministry, in the country’s deadliest rail accident in more than a decade. 

The ministry said the crash also left 123 people injured.

A statement by the Egyptian Railways Authority said one of the trains, traveling to Alexandria from Cairo, Egypt’s capital, crashed into the back of another train, which was waiting at a small station in the district of Khorshid, just east of Alexandria.

The stationary train had just arrived from Port Said, a Mediterranean city on the northern tip of the Suez Canal, when it was hit, according to the statement.

The statement did not say what caused the accident, only that the authority’s experts would investigate.

Associated Press footage from the scene showed mangled train coaches on the tracks and several others derailed as hundreds of onlookers and victims’ relatives gathered around on both sides of the tracks.

Ambulances were standing by and riot police and soldiers were deployed to keep the onlookers away from the scene of the disaster. Residents from nearby homes rushed to the scene to look for survivors inside crushed train carriages or offer first aid to the injured.

An eyewitness who lives close to the crash site said he and others ran toward the site when they heard the sound of the impact.

“We ran to the scene and we found people jumping from the train and lots of dead,” said Abdel-Bari Abdel-Hamid.

By nightfall, cranes aided by floodlights began to remove the wreckage off the tracks to allow rail traffic to resume. Rescue teams, meanwhile, continued to look for more bodies and injured passengers inside the carriages.

Egypt’s railway system has a poor safety record, mostly blamed on decades of badly maintained equipment and poor management.

Friday’s crash was…

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