[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Languages
Last Updated: Tuesday, 18 October 2005, 10:36 GMT 11:36 UK
Pilgrims' ship in Suez collision
Egypt has launched an investigation into a collision in the Suez Canal between a cargo ship and a passenger vessel carrying Muslim pilgrims.

Two people were killed and at least 98 people were injured in the incident, near Port Tawfiq, about 130km (80 miles) east of Cairo.

More than 1,400 people were on board the ship, the al-Salam 95.

Egyptian media said the Cypriot cargo vessel gouged a 5m hole in its side, flooding the engine room.

At least 12 rescue boats rushed to the crash site and were able to ferry the victims to hospital.

Investigation

"Ninety eight people were wounded, two of them seriously. Most of them were wounded in the panic that ensued," Egyptian Health Minister Dr Mohammed Taj al-Din told Egyptian television.

The passengers, most of whom were Egyptian, had been performing the Umra, or lesser pilgrimage to Mecca.

The al-Salam 95 had been waiting to enter the port, following its journey from Jeddah, when the two ships collided.

"We concentrated on saving lives. The boat that carried people has sunk now. Thank God that we moved all the people from there," Transport Minister Isam Sharaf told reporters.

Mr Sharaf announced at the press conference that an investigation had already been launched into the collision.

"Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak followed the developments and has received detailed reports on the rescue effort from the relevant authorities," ministry spokesman Sulayman Awad added.

The incident did not force the closure of the Suez Canal, the strategic link between the Red Sea and Mediterranean and one of Egypt's most important revenue sources.


SEE ALSO:
Suez Canal reopened for traffic
09 Nov 04 |  Middle East
Broken tanker halts Suez traffic
08 Nov 04 |  Business
Storms force Suez Canal to close
23 Jan 04 |  Middle East



PRODUCTS AND SERVICES

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific