Egypt punishes train disaster ‘selfie medics’

Rescuing personnel take selfies at the side of the train accident near Khorshid station in Alexandria. (Twitter photo)
Updated 13 August 2017
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Egypt punishes train disaster ‘selfie medics’

CAIRO: Egypt’s Health Ministry has punished six medics who took selfies in front of a deadly train wreck by transferring them to a remote part of the country, it said Saturday, following an online uproar.
President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi has ordered an inquiry into the crash.
Two trains collided Friday near the Mediterranean city of Alexandria, killing 41 people in one of the deadliest such accidents in the North African country.
Pictures of an ambulance crew taking selfie pictures in front the wreckage sparked anger on social media, with one Twitter user posting a photograph with a hashtag reading: “conscience in a coma.”
Dubbed the “Selfie Medics” by Twitter users, they faced calls for punishment on social media.
The ministry’s director of emergency services Ahmed Al-Ansari told AFP six members of the ambulance crew have been transferred to the western Siwa oasis as punishment.
It was “inappropriate conduct,” he said.
Egypt’s ambulance services had been hailed in the country in the past for their often dangerous jobs tending to demonstrators during the Arab Spring protests of 2011 and their violent aftermath.
Meanwhile, state news agency MENA said on Friday Egyptian prosecutor has ordered the detention of the train drivers and their assistants involved in the collision.
Egyptians have long complained that successive governments failed to enforce basic safeguards for railways.
The prosecutor ordered two train drivers and two assistants be held for 15 days and released several other railway employees, MENA said. Blood and urine samples were taken from one driver to check for drug use.


Migrant charity files manslaughter complaint against cargo ship, Libya

Updated 21 July 2018
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Migrant charity files manslaughter complaint against cargo ship, Libya

  • The migrant rescue boat Open Arms docked in Spain on Saturday carrying the bodies of a woman and a four-year-old boy
  • Open Arms claimed the ship’s crew had seen the migrant dingy but had failed to provide help

PALMA DE MALLORCA: The charity Proactiva Open Arms has filed a complaint, including of involuntary manslaughter, with the Spanish police against a cargo ship for failing to help migrants adrift on a destroyed dinghy in the Mediterranean.
The captain of the charity’s rescue boat said on Saturday he also plans to file a separate suit against the Libyan lifeguard.
The migrant rescue boat Open Arms docked in Spain on Saturday carrying the bodies of a woman and a four-year-old boy as well as one woman who was found alive floating on the remains of a dinghy off the coast of Libya last week.
The boat took four days to arrive in the Spanish port of Palma after finding the migrants adrift about 80 miles (130 km)off Libya’s coast after being abandoned by the Libyan coast guard, the charity said.
“We have filed a complaint against the captain of the (merchant ship) Triades for failing to help and for involuntary manslaughter and we’ll also do it against the captain of the Libyan patrol,” Oscar Camps, the Open Arms captain and founder of the NGO, said at a news conference.
Open Arms claimed the ship’s crew had seen the migrant dingy but had failed to provide help. Reuters could not find a way to contact the captain of Triades, which flies a Panamanian flag. The ship is currently moored in the Libyan port of Misrata, where officials could not be reached for comment.
The Libyan lifeguard also left the three migrants to float amid the shattered remains of the raft after the two women and the boy had refused to board their patrol ship, the charity said.
Libya’s coast guard disputed the account on Tuesday but offered no explanation for how the three migrants came to be stranded on the remains of the dinghy.
The Spanish charity operates in the central Mediterranean, one of the deadliest areas of the sea and favored by people smugglers operating out of Libya.
Charity boats have been locked out of Italian ports, the closest European landing point, since Italy’s new government vowed to crack down on illegal immigration from Northern Africa.
Open Arms found itself at the center of the European immigrant crisis at the start of the month when it rescued 60 migrants off Libya and brought them to Barcelona in Spain after being refused docking in Italy and Malta.