Seventeen people were killed and 29 injured after a public bus and a heavy transport truck collided on a desert highway in southwestern Egypt, the health ministry said on Thursday.

The accident occurred on Wednesday on the Assuit-Kharga highway, some 400 km (250 miles) southwest of Cairo, in New Valley province that shares a long border with Libya, medical and security sources said.

Twenty-six ambulances were dispatched to the scene to ferry the injured to hospitals, a health ministry statement said.

It was not immediately clear how the accident occurred.

Reckless driving, lax traffic rules and poor road conditions cause many vehicular crashes in Egypt.

Road accidents left 7,101 people dead in Egypt in 2021, a 15.2% increase compared with 2020, statistics agency CAPMAS said in a report last year. (Reporting by Momen Saeed Atallah; writing by Hatem Maher and Jana Choukeir; editing by Chris Reese and Mark Heinrich)