At least 36 people were killed in a train crash outside the Mediterranean city of Alexandria, in one of the deadliest in a string of such accidents in Egypt, the health ministry said.

The crash, involving two trains, also injured 123 people, the ministry said in a statement.

Footage on the state broadcaster showed one train had partly keeled over in the crash, and medics were seen moving the dead and injured to ambulances.

Transport ministry officials, quoted on state television, said the crash was probably caused by a malfunction in one train that brought it to a halt on the rails. The other train then crashed into it.

One of them had been heading from Cairo to the northern city of Alexandria and the other from the canal city of Port Said, east of the capital, to Alexandria.

The dead and injured were initially placed on blankets by the sides of the tracks running through farmland on the outskirts of Alexandria.

Assistant health minister Sharif Wadi told state television that most of the injured had been taken to hospital.

President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi sent his condolences to the victims’ families and ordered a probe to “hold accountable” those responsible for the disaster, his office said.

It was the deadliest train accident in the North African country since a train ploughed into a bus carrying schoolchildren in November 2012, killing 47 people.

That accident had jolted the government which ordered an investigation and sacked the transport minister and the head of the railway authority.

The accident was blamed on a train signal operator who fell asleep on the job.

The probe, however, did not prevent further accidents. Months later a train carrying military conscripts derailed, killing 17 people.


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