The carriages were engulfed in flames with terrifying speed. Passengers were packed together, it was standing room only, and when the lights went out in the choking smoke many stood little chance of escape. Bars on the windows of the train probably cost many lives. Among the dead were dozens of children. One of the few survivors told me it was a tunnel of death and those who did escape had to jump from the train while it was still moving.
The cause of this tragedy isn’t known for certain. The train was packed as people are travelling now to see their families for the Muslim festival of Biram. As the injured are treated in mosques and a nearby hospital, the security forces have been put on high alert. The authorities are apparently expecting an angry reaction from the relatives of those killed in what’s become Egypt’s worst ever transport disaster.