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Onlookers gather around a charred car, following an accident just before midnight on August 4, 2019, outside the National Cancer Institute in the Egyptian capital Cairo. Image Credit: AFP

Cairo: Rescue teams started on Monday searching the River Nile in Cairo for potential victims of an explosion that resulted from a car pile-up near a major hospital in the centre of the Egyptian capital, security sources said.

The late Sunday accident already left 19 people dead and 30 others injured outside a state-run institute treating cancer, according to health authorities.

Health Minister Hala Zayed said while visiting the injured that other bodies of people, killed in the mishap, might have fallen into the nearby Nile due to the huge explosion resulting from the crash.

“River rescue forces are searching the part of the Nile opposite the National Cancer Institute for any body,” a security source told private newspaper Al Watan.

“Civil defence forces, in coordination with an engineering committee are also checking the building of the institute to determine its safety,” the unnamed source said.

After the explosion that also triggered a major blaze, patients at the centre were evacuated to other hospitals across Cairo.

The Health Ministry said that it has set up a crisis team and put hospitals on maximum alert to treat those injured in the accident.

Three of the injured are in critical condition, health spokesman Ahmad Mojahed said.

Other injuries range from fractures to burns and need surgery, according to the official.

The collision occurred after a speeding car travelling on the wrong side of the road rammed into three others head-on, causing the explosion and the fire.