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Monday, 19 November 2012

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School bus tragedy kills 47

EGYPT: Forty-seven schoolchildren were killed on Saturday when a train smashed into their bus in central Egypt after a railway signal operator fell asleep, officials said, prompting protests and resignations. Transport Minister Rashad al-Metini stepped down after the tragedy saying he “accepts responsibility.” President Mohamed Morsi also accepted the Egyptian Railway Authority chief's resignation.

Manfalut hospital in the province of Assiut said it had received 51 bodies -- those of the 47 children, the bus driver, two school supervisors and a passer-by.

“The children were between the ages of 4 and 12,” deputy hospital chief Mohammed Abdel Razek told AFP. Small coffins lined the wall at the entrance to the hospital in preparation for the children's burials.

The bus taking 60 children on a school trip was struck on a railway crossing in Manfalut, 360 kilometres (220 miles) south of Cairo, police said. The worker manning the level crossing -- which had been left open -- was asleep when the bus tried to cross the tracks, Assiut governor Yehya Keshk said. “He has been arrested of course.

“There is a team of 45 doctors looking after the injured children,” Keshk said.

Parents of the children held angry demonstrations near the scene of the accident, demanding the death penalty for those responsible, police said. Some residents blocked the line with blazing tyres.

“We will not clear the railway line until we get justice for our children. This is not the first accident to happen here,” said resident Mustafa Abuloyun.

AFP

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