SUEZ: At least nine people were killed and 28 injured when a coach carrying European and North Americans overturned and caught fire in Egypt s Sinai peninsula on Thursday, a security official said.
The coach, with 40 people on board, was traveling from the Sinai resort of Sharm El-Sheikh to Cairo when it left the road, hit a concrete barrier, rolled over and burst into flames at Abu Zenima, an area about 70 km south of Suez.
Three of the dead were burnt beyond recognition. The official said the dead were probably Canadian and British.
But a spokeswoman at the British embassy in Cairo said she did not think there were any Britons among the dead, while the Canadian embassy said they knew of two injured Canadians.
The injured include 13 Russians, four British, two Romanians, two Canadians, two Italians, a Ukrainian and two Egyptian police as well as the Egyptian driver and guide.
All tour buses in Egypt have at least one armed policeman on board.
A spokesman at the Russian embassy said we know that some [Russians] are injured and some are dead but we have no exact information yet on the numbers.
The coach was owned by Azure Travel, Egypt s official MENA news agency said, adding that the accident occurred at about 6 am while the coach was negotiating a sharp bend.
Security and traffic officials, civil defense troops and ambulances were all rushed to the scene, it added.
The injured were taken to hospitals near Sharm. Three were in a serious condition and one later died in the hospital, the official said, adding that a Canadian woman also had to have a hand amputated. Many of the injured were severely burned.
In London the foreign office confirmed that Britons were involved in the accident but could not say how many or what their injuries were.
We believe there aren t any British dead and we believe there are a small number of British injured but we need confirmation, a spokeswoman at the British embassy in Cairo told AFP.
She said that the honorary consul in Sharm had gone to hospitals there to check for British injured.
Each year about 6,000 people die and 30,000 are hurt in road accidents in Egypt. In March, 23 people were killed when two trucks collided head on.In February, 29 people were killed in a pile-up on a road south of Cairo in an accident blamed on fog.
Traffic regulations are often badly enforced and vehicles poorly maintained.
Many coastal and desert roads allow for high speeds, and accidents caused by reckless overtaking are frequent.
Millions of tourists visit Egypt every year, with tourism accounting for almost 20 percent of the country s foreign currency revenue.
Egypt last month launched a plan aimed at welcoming 14 million tourists by 2011, compared with 11 million in 2007.