Cairo - At least 50 people, mostly children, were killed when a train slammed into a school bus as it crossed tracks in a city south of Cairo on Saturday, state media and officials said.
All but two of the dead were children, aged around 4 to 8, said a senior security official in Assiut, near the site. One woman and the bus driver also died, he added.
The bus was broken in half by the force of the crash. Blood was spattered on the front of the engine and school bags and text books, some bloodstained, were strewn around.
Crossing worker asleep
Witnesses said barriers at the rail crossing were open when the train hit the bus. Assiut Governor Yahya Keshk also said the crossing was open. "The crossing worker was asleep. He has been detained," he told state television.
Transport Minister Mohamed Rashad and the head of the railways authority resigned, and President Mohamed Mursi said those responsible would be held to account.
State media reported that as well as 50 dead, 15 or more people were injured. A medical source said as many as 28 were injured, 27 of them children.
The doctor said the bodies of many of those killed were severely mutilated, illustrating the force of the crash, which took place in the city of Manfalut, near Assiut, about 300km south of the capital.
Officials said the level of destruction and mutilation made it difficult to count and identify the bodies.
President Mursi ordered his ministers to offer support to the families of those killed, the official news agency said. Prime Minister Hisham Kandil ordered investigations into anyone responsible for the crash and travelled to the scene.