Cairo, Aug 12 (PTI) At least 44 people were killed and nearly 180 others injured when two trains collided near Egypt’s coastal city of Alexandria, officials said.

The Egyptian cabinet said in a statement that the number of deaths may increase and a final toll will be announced after clearing the debris from the accident site later.

The deadly collision took place yesterday after a train travelling to Alexandria from Cairo, crashed into the back of another train coming from the Canal city of Port Said, which was waiting at a small station in the district of Khorshid, east of Alexandria, the Egyptian Railways Authority said in a statement.

The area of the collision has been cordoned off by security forces as a rescue team is currently searching for survivors over the night and removing the wreckage off the tracks, it said.

Train movement from Cairo to Alexandria resumed today after the tracks were cleared following the accident, the spokesman for the Ministry of Transportation was quoted as saying by state news agency MENA.

Transportation ministry spokesman Mohammed Ezz said that Cairo-Alexandria train traffic would operate on a single line in both directions until a second track that was damaged in the accident is repaired.

Iman Hamdy, 26, a survivor of the accident, said that she was travelling in the train going to Alexandria and noticed that it was already in a bad condition.

The Al-Masri el-Youm Arabic newspaper quoted her as saying that the train abruptly stopped for 15 minutes in Ebies area near Khorshid station when she felt its collision with the another train.

Hamdy, who succeeded in escaping from the train through one of the windows, said that she will never forget the large number of injured, mostly women and children, she saw at the accident site.

Another survivor, 10 year-old Karim Abdel Wahab, said that he couldn’t find his mother and brother who were travelling with him in the train.

The driver of the Cairo-Alexandria train has surrendered himself to police and has been transferred to El-Raml police station in Alexandria for investigation, local media reported, citing a health ministry official.

Egypt’s prosecutor-general Nabil Sadiq has ordered an urgent investigation into the collision to find out the reason behind the crash.

President El-Sisi has expressed his condolences to the victims and ordered government bodies to follow up on developments from the deadly collision and identify the cause of the accident.

“The rescue team is currently searching for survivals while ambulances are transferring the injured to nearby hospitals,” said Magdy Hegazi, undersecretary at the Health ministry.

The ministry said 75 ambulances had been deployed at the crash scene to treat casualties and that all the hospitals in Alexandria had been placed on high alert.

Train accidents are common in Egypt. In 2016, a train derailed in south of Cairo, killing five people, and injuring 27 people in the al-Ayat area.

Another train derailment in Badr Rashin in Giza killed at least 19 people in 2013.

In 2012, a collision between a train and school bus on a rail crossing in the town of Manaflut in Upper Egypt killed 51 people, mostly children.

At least 360 people were killed in 2002 in Egypt’s worst train disaster when a major fire engulfed seven carriages of an overcrowded passenger train.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.