Driver of Egypt's deadly train accident arrested: top prosecutor

Prosecutor-general Nabil Sadeq said that the driver left the locomotive with its engine on to check another locomotive in the opposite direction that stuck with it.

The driver of the deadly locomotive that crashed at Cairo main railway station on Wednesday has been arrested, Egypt's top prosecutor said in a statement on Wednesday.

Earlier on Wednesday, a train locomotive crashed into the buffer stop at the end of rail track at the main railway station near Ramses square in downtown Cairo, causing a massive fire and leaving 20 dead and 43 wounded.

Prosecutor-general Nabil Sadeq said that the driver left the locomotive with its engine on to check another locomotive in the opposite direction that stuck with it.

"The driver left the compartment without taking the measures of turning off the engine to check the situation with the driver of the other locomotive," said the prosecutor's statement.

It explained that the driver of the opposite locomotive managed to disengage the two stuck locomotives while the other driver was out of the cab and the engine of his locomotive was on.

"This led the locomotive in question to move without its driver at a high speed until it hit the concrete buffer stop at the end of the track," the statement explained.

The tragedy led to the resignation of the country's then Transport Minister Hesham Arafat, which was accepted by by Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly.

"There will be no leniency or complacency in holding those responsible for the accident accountable," Madbouly said at crash scene, stressing that "the era of keeping silent on those who fail to do their duties toward the Egyptian citizens is over."

The cabinet ordered financial compensation of 80,000 Egyptian pounds (about 4,570 U.S. dollars) for the family of each deceased or each person with a consequent total disability and 25,000 pounds for each of the wounded.

The Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi ordered to hold accountable, after investigation, those responsible for the accident, offering sincere condolences to the families of the victims.

Egypt witnessed a number of deadly train accidents over the past few years, in which hundreds were killed and injured.

In August 2017, a train crash in the northern coastal province of Alexandria and left at least 49 dead. Later in February 2018, a collision of two trains in Beheira province north of Cairo killed 12 people.

The deadliest train accident in Egypt took place in Giza's district of Ayyat in 2002, which killed 350 passengers when a fire broke out in a train coming from Upper Egypt, forcing many passengers to jump for their lives.

Xinhua

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