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2002 El Ayyat railway accident

The El Ayyat train disaster happened at 02:00 on the morning of 20 February 2002 in an eleven-carriage passenger train travelling from Cairo to Luxor. A cooking gas cylinder exploded in the fifth carriage, creating a fire which engulfed seven third-class carriages, reducing them almost to cinders. The initial number of dead given by officials at the time was 383, all Egyptians. However, considering that seven carriages were burnt to the ground, and each carriage was packed with at least double the maximum carrying capacity of 150, this number may be greatly underestimated. The dubious nature of the given death toll lies with the absence of a full passenger list; accounting for those missing was almost impossible at the time. In addition, the fire was so intense and the carriages so badly burned that many corpses had been reduced to ash. As there was no means of communication between the driver and the rear carriages, the driver did not know of the fire until about two hours after it had begun, resulting in many people attempting to flee from the overcrowded carriages, jumping to their death. Some important Egyptians[who?] have commented that the official number of 383 dead is grossly inaccurate and was an attempt to lessen the damage done to the reputation of the government.

2002 El Ayyat railway accident
Date20 February 2002
LocationEl Ayyat, Egypt
LineUpper-Egypt train line
OperatorEgyptian National Railways
Incident typeTrain fire

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