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Egypt bans travel company over last week's fatal coach crash

CAIRO, May 6 (RIA Novosti) - The Egyptian ministry for tourism has revoked the license of the travel company whose coach was involved in last week's fatal crash in the Sinai Peninsula in which nine people died, a ministry spokeswoman said on Tuesday.

On May 1, a coach transporting 37 foreign tourists from the popular tourist resort of Sharm el-Sheikh to the Egyptian capital, Cairo, hit a sharp bend on a desert highway at Abu Zenima, about 40 miles (65 km) southeast of the Suez Canal. The vehicle overturned and caught fire. The coach was owned by the Azur travel company.

Six Russians, a Ukrainian, a Romanian, and the vehicle's Egyptian driver perished in the accident. Another 16 Russians were among the 28 people injured.

An investigation later revealed that the company had regularly violated safety rules. The licenses of three other travel agencies have been suspended until the investigation into the accident is over.

The ministry will also introduce additional measures to ensure safety standards are observed by travel agencies in the North African state. Tourism is thriving in Egypt, and accounts for around 20% of the country's foreign currency revenue. Some 1.5 million Russian tourists visited Egypt last year.

Such incidents are frequent in Egypt due to a combination of speeding and poor road conditions. Around 8,000 people die annually each year in the country in road accidents.

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