On Tuesday, the north Cairo prosecution referred 14 suspects to the Criminal Court due to the deadly accident that left dozens killed and injured at Cairo’s main railway station in February.
The defendants include the drivers of two railcars, numbers 2305 and 2302, two manoeuvre’s workers, and other railway workers.
In a statement, the Egyptian prosecution office stated that the railway workers involved in the accident committed offences which are considered criminal felonies and they have to be punished according to the country’s laws.
Evidence, investigations, eyewitness, and substantive reports, as well as the admissions of the defendants, revealed beyond any doubt that the causes of the accidents are essentially due to the severe neglect of some of the sector workers, the prosecution clarified.
The prosecution disclosed that 10 offences and tricks have been committed by railway drivers and workers with the aim to shorten their working hours.
Furthermore, it set five recommendations to improve the services within the sector, including establishing an independent entity to monitor and ensure the safety of the trains and stations. It also recommended training and upgrading the railway workers, particularly the drivers.
On February 27 this year, a locomotive smashed through a buffer stop at the Cairo main railway station and killed 25 people and injured around 50 others, including some with severe wounds.
The deadly accident occurred after the driver stepped off the train without putting the brakes on, according to Egypt’s prosecution.
It revealed that the locomotive driver responsible for the accident and the manoeuvre operator of the same railcar both tested positive for the potent narcotic ‘strox’.
The investigation revealed that the driver was suspended from work for six months before the accident due to his addiction to drugs. Now, he faces charges including intentional murder and neglect.
In the aftermath of the accident, Transportation Minister, Hesham Arafat, handed in his resignation. Kamel Al-Wazir, the head of the Armed Forces Engineering Authority, replaced him.
Cairo’s railway station, the main and largest station in the country, is one of the most overcrowded places in Egypt.
February’s accident is the deadliest since August 2017, when 42 passengers, including women and children, were killed, and over 100 others were wounded after a train coming from Cairo and another coming from Port Said collided in the Khurshid area in Alexandria.
In 2012, 52 students were killed, and 13 others were wounded when a train crashed into a school bus in Assiut governorate.
Egypt’s deadliest railway accident ever was in 2002, when a fire swept through an overcrowded train along a line south of Cairo, killing more than 370 people.