A tourist bus collided with a truck on a highway in southern Egypt and caught fire on Wednesday, killing at least 10 people including four Frenchmen and a Belgian, authorities said. The crash happened about 34 miles south of the ancient city ofwhile traveling to the temples of Esna on the west bank of the Nile, provincial authorities said in a statement.
In addition to the tourists, five Egyptians were killed in the crash. At least 14 other people were injured, including eight from France and six from Belgium, they said.
They had “fractures, bruises and superficial injuries”, but all were in stable condition, the governor of the southern province of Aswan said, according to AFP.
The cause of the accident was not immediately clear.
Footage leaked online showed a tour bus in flames with people trying to put out the fire. “A guest is dying inside,” one person heard shouting.
The bus in the video bore the logo of state-owned Misr Travel. The Cairo-based agency did not respond to a request for comment.
Aswan provincial governor Ashraf Attia said the injured were taken to hospital and were in stable condition.
Wednesday’s crash came five days after a bus crashed on a highway near the Red Sea, killing three people including two Polish tourists.
Fatal traffic accidents claim thousands of lives each year in Egypt, which has a poor transport safety record. Accidents and collisions are mainly caused by speeding, bad roads or poor traffic enforcement.
Egypt’s official statistics agency says there were around 10,000 road accidents in 2019, the most recent year for which statistics are available, with more than 3,480 fatalities. In 2018, there were 8,480 car accidents, causing more than 3,080 deaths.
The tourism industry is just coming back
Egypt has started to revive its vital tourism industry by promoting its ancient heritage, after the country’s revolution in 2011 and subsequent unrest hit the sector.
But the arrival of the COVID pandemic in 2020 and ensuing global travel bans caused tourism revenue to plummet to $4 billion from $13 billion the previous year.
The sector employs some two million people in a country of 103 million people and generates more than 10% of GDP.
In August 2021, Russia resumed flights to Egyptian resorts six years after a Russian airliner crashed after taking off from Sharm el-Sheikh, killing all 224 people on board.
But Russia’s invasion of Ukraine once again cut off much of the flow of tourists to Egypt, as the two countries accounted for around 40% of visitors before the war.
The current administration of President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has invested heavily in promoting tourism, having organized major events with the aim of attracting visitors.
Last April, the North African country organized a procession ofincluding Egypt’s most powerful former queen, to a new resting place in Cairo.
And in November, the Egyptian Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities held a grand ceremony to mark thein the city of Luxor.
Since last year, visitors from dozens of additional countries have been allowed to obtain visas upon arrival in Egypt, rather than applying in advance.
While attacks on tourists have largely ceased since their peak in the 1990s, deadly incidents have occurred.
In September 2015, eight Mexicans were mistakenly killed by security forces in the vast Western Desert.
And in February 2019, a German woman and two Egyptian children were killed when a building collapsed in a residential area of the southern city of Luxor.
AFP contributed to this report.