CAIRO – Two buses collided early Friday near a popular Red Sea resort in Egypt, killing at least 33 people, a local health official said, in the country’s worst road accident in nearly two years.
The buses were coming from opposite directions when they collided on a main road about 50 kilometres (30 miles) from Sharm el-Sheikh in the Sinai Peninsula, a resort town popular with beachgoers and scuba divers.
Another 41 people were injured, some with fractured skulls, said Khaled Abu Hashem, a local emergency services official. Two Saudis were among the dead, and four foreigners — a 20-year-old Ukranian woman, a Yemeni man and a Saudi woman and child — were lightly injured.
The death toll will likely rise as families identify the remains, Abu Hashem said.
Emergency workers spent the early hours Friday rushing survivors to ambulances and pulling bodies from the blood-stained wreckage.
Of the injured, 22 are still receiving treatment in Sharm el-Sheikh hospital, including four people in the intensive care unit, another emergency health official, Mohammed Sultan, said.
Tourism Minister Hisham Zaazoue said the vehicles were not tourist buses and belonged to transportation companies, state news agency MENA reported. The cause of the accident was not immediately known.
Traffic accidents are common in Egypt due to poorly maintained roads and disregard of traffic laws, with about 13,000 people killed on the road last year. Friday’s accident is the deadliest since November 2012, when a train crashed into a bus carrying children to kindergarten, killing more than 50 people.