A speeding bus carrying dozens of Canadian and European tourists overturned and caught fire yesterday on a desert highway in Egypt?? Sinai peninsula, killing at least eight passengers and wounding 27, security and emergency officials said.
The bus was carrying around 40 tourists, mostly from Canada, Britain, Italy and Eastern Europe, from the Sinai resort of Sharm el-Sheik to the Egyptian capital, Cairo, said Said Issa, director of emergency services in the Sinai.
It overturned at a sharp curve in the highway at Abu Zenima, an area about 70km southeast of the Suez Canal, and then a fire swept through the bus, Issa said.
At least eight passengers were killed and 27 injured, Issa said.
Egypt?? state news agency, MENA, said the dead bodies were transferred to a local clinic, but wounded survivors were rushed back to a larger hospital in Sharm el-Sheik.
Many of the wounded were severely burned. A security official gave a breakdown of nationalities of those injured: 13 Russians, four Britons, two Canadians, two Italians, two Romanians, one Ukrainian and three Egyptians.
The cause of the accident was not immediately known, security officials said, all speaking on condition of anonymity because they weren?? authorized to talk to the press.
Ali Haridi, an Egyptian who was sitting near the driver when the accident occurred, said the bus flipped and he was so disoriented that ?? couldn?? tell where the driver was.??br />
Haridi, who suffered some burns and cuts, spoke by cellphone from an ambulance that he said was carrying several injured tourists, including a woman whose hand had been severed and another who was severely burned.
Egyptian roads see frequent accidents because of speeding, careless driving and poor road conditions. At least 8,000 people were killed in accidents in 2006, the most recent statistics available.