Minibus Plunges into Nile, Killing 10 Female Farm Workers in Egypt

In a devastating accident on Tuesday, at least 10 female farm workers, including nine children, lost their lives when a minibus plunged off a river ferry into the Nile River, northwest of Cairo.

The Egyptian Health Ministry has confirmed the incident and warned that the death toll could rise.

The tragic event occurred in the village of Abu Ghalib, approximately 50 kilometers (31 miles) from Cairo.

The Health Ministry spokesman, Hossam Abdelghaffar, told AFP, “The toll is at 10 and could rise.” The state-run Al-Ahram newspaper reported that the driver, who had an argument with one of the passengers and subsequently released the handbrake before exiting the bus, was arrested while attempting to flee the scene.

The victims, who worked on an export-oriented fruit farm, included two 13-year-olds, several teenagers aged 16 or younger, and a 40-year-old woman.

Villagers immediately sprang into action, using small wooden boats to assist in search-and-rescue efforts, while relatives anxiously waited on the riverbank.

A crane was eventually used to lift the submerged minibus from the water. Nine injured passengers, most of them minors, were taken to nearby hospitals for treatment.

As of the evening, a search operation continued for five more passengers who remain unaccounted for.

The Ministry of Social Solidarity has pledged financial compensation to the families of the deceased and injured.

The public prosecutor’s office has ordered a technical inspection of the minibus to ascertain the cause of the accident.

Commuter accidents are not uncommon in Egypt, particularly in rural areas along the Nile and its tributaries, where overcrowded and often poorly maintained boats and vehicles are used to ferry farm workers.

Egypt, the Arab world’s most populous nation, has a significant issue with child labor, with at least 1.3 million children engaged in some form of work, according to official figures.

Many work unpaid on family farms, but a substantial number also labor on large-scale export farms under harsh conditions.

Rural sociologist Saker al-Nour, who has extensively studied agricultural labor conditions, highlighted the poor treatment of these young workers, stating, “These accidents happen repeatedly because girls are packed, in their own words, like sardines into these minibuses to go and work in terrible conditions.”

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