Sunday, November 6, 2011

11 Hungarian Tourists Killed in Tour Bus Crash, 27 Others Injured

Eleven Hungarian tourists were tragically killed late Sunday (November 6) when an Egyptian tour bus exceeding the speed limit overturned near the Red Sea town of Hurghada, 315 miles (510 kilometers) southeast of Cairo. In addition to the eleven killed, 27 Hungarian tourists were also injured and were taken to a local hospital. Four children were among the injured.

COMMENT: Most of our regular readers know avoidable bus accidents with fatalities "push my buttons," particularly considering that every month I file several postings criticizing foreign governments for not creating a safer environment for tourists.

The driver in this case was driving the bus at an excessive rate of speed from the tourists' hotel to the local airport when the driver lost control of the bus, causing it to overturn. The accident happened on the first day of the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha, or Feast of the Sacrifice, when many Egyptians and tourists head to Red Sea resorts for vacation.

Tour organizers, survivors of the crash and the families of those killed should all demand their money back and press the Egyptian government to prosecute the driver.

Additionally, the Hungarian government should send a strongly worded Diplomatic Note to the Egyptian foreign minister stating that until tour bus operators are forced to drive below the speed limit and cops are forced to enforce the traffic laws, Budapest will issue a travel warning to its citizens discouraging travel to Egypt. It should be noted that this strategy has worked effectively in the Philippines, after Hong Kong warned it citizens against traveling there because seven Chinese citizens were killed in a botched hostage barricade incident in Manila last week. It should be noted that this travel warning remains ACTIVE, despite pleas from the highest level of the Philippine government.

Considering that tourism in Egypt has declined by nearly 40% since the Mubarak government was deposed, the timing is right for the suggested strategy outlined above to be effective in reducing the number of fatal tour bus crashes in Egypt and elsewhere.

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