A tourist bus collided with a damaged truck parked on the side of the road near the southern Egyptian city of Aswan leaving eight Americans dead and 21 injured on Sunday, December 26. The bus was ferrying 37 people to the ancient Egyptian Abu Simbel temples.
According to police, six of the dead were women. The bus driver and a tourist guide were also injured. Four other tourists were in critical condition. The injured were taken to a military hospital in Aswan.
It was reported that the accident happened around dawn, shortly after a three-coach convoy had set off on the 115-mile (185km) journey from Aswan to Abu Simbel. One of the coaches struck a lorry laden with sand which had broken down and was parked at the side of the road. Passengers inside the other two coaches were unharmed.
Road accidents are common in Egypt due to poor roads and lax enforcement of traffic regulations. An estimated 8,000 people die in car accidents each year in the country.
Eighteen French tourists were injured when their bus overturned on the same two-lane desert road in January.
The 3,000 year-old granite Abu Simbel temples are a popular tourist attraction. They were relocated to their present location, about 300 kilometres from Aswan, in the 1960s to prevent them from being submerged by rising waters from the Aswan Dam which was under construction.
My wife and I did this trip ourselves back in February, 2010. Because the bus trip is 3 hours long from Aswan, we had to get up at 2:30am to hop on a bus at 4am. We arrived at Abu Simbel around 7 or 7:30am. [yawn] The trip is well worth it and I would advise anybody to visit Egypt at least once in your life. It is spectacular.
I am very sorry to hear about this tragedy and consider my wife and me lucky to have not suffered any such incident during our trip.
See my blog Egypt
for a detailed account of a spectacular two week vacation in the country.
Click HERE to read more from William Belle