Page last updated at 20:53 GMT, Sunday, 14 December 2008

Dozens killed in Egypt bus plunge

Crashed bus being retrieved by crane
There are differing accounts of what caused the accident

An Egyptian public bus has plunged into a canal, killing at least 55 people and injuring about 10 others, reports say.

At least 20 ambulances were sent to the scene near the village of Dahrut, about 200km (125 miles) south of Cairo, AFP reported. Local people rushed to help.

The bus, travelling to Cairo from Minya, was said to have been packed. Officials expect the number of dead to rise once divers complete their work.

Poor roads and reckless driving are the cause of many road accidents in Egypt.

Some reports said the accident happened when the bus driver swerved to avoid an oncoming truck, but others said he lost control while trying to overtake another vehicle.

"I was riding in the bus and the next thing I heard was screaming and crying," one of the survivors, Nehad Ayad, told the AFP news agency.

She said she managed to escape through a broken window before the bus toppled into the water.

The bus, which was licensed to carry 50 passengers, had about 70 people on board at the time of the crash, reports said.

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