Egypt train and bus crash kills 26 outside Cairo

The BBC's Orla Guerin says the wrecked minibus is now a "heap of tangled metal"

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At least 26 people have been killed and 28 injured as a train crashed into a minibus and other vehicles south of Egypt's capital Cairo, officials say.

The freight train, travelling from the city of Beni Suef, hit the vehicles at a crossing about 40km (25 miles) from Cairo, they say.

State TV says many of those killed on the bus were members of an extended family returning from a wedding.

Egypt's roads and railways have a notoriously poor safety record.

Crossing gates 'closed'

Monday's collision happened near the village of Dahshur, with reports saying the minibus and two other vehicles were involved.

Local security officials told Egypt's media that the crossing gates of the tracks had been closed and the train's driver was surprised to see vehicles still crossing.

"The crossing was closed with chains, there were warning lights," Hussein Zakaria, the head of Egypt's railway authority, told state TV.

Ambulances later arrived at the scene to take the injured to hospitals. There are fears that the death toll could rise further.

In January, a train carrying army recruits derailed near Cairo, killing 19 people and injuring more than 100.

Last November, nearly 50 children died when a train hit their school bus near Manfalut, some 350km south of Cairo, after a signal operator fell asleep. That disaster led to the resignation of the transport minister.

Egypt's worst train disaster was in 2002, when a train caught fire in Cairo, killing 373 people.

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