Mostly children between 4 and 6-years-old were riding the bus when it crossed the railroad tracks, slamming into the oncoming train, according to reports. Seventeen people were also injured in the accident.
Doctor Mohamed Samir of the local hospital told the press: “”They told us the [railroad] barriers were open when the bus crossed the tracks and the train collided with it.”
The bus was broken in half by the force of the impact, and school bags and text books were scattered around the bloody scene, according to NBC News. Officials said the level of destruction and mutilation made it difficult to count and identify the victims.
Egypt’s railway system is notorious for its poor safety record, with incidents blamed on badly maintained equipment and poor management.
Governor Yahya Taha Kishk ordered an investigation and confirmed that the railway’s crossing was open when the train hit the bus.
“The crossing worker was asleep. He has been detained,” Kishk explained.
At the scene, the victims’ families protested the neglect causing the tragedy. The government is giving the family of each person killed approximately $1,500 in compensation. The family of each injured victim will receive about $900, according to the prime minister’s office.