“The deaths have now reached 47. There are 13 children injured,” Keshk told state television.
The bus, which was taking 60 children on a trip organised by their nursery, was struck on a railway crossing in Manfalut, 356 kilometres (220 miles) south of Cairo, police said. The children were aged between four and six.
Around 13 children were also injured, but none of them critically, Keshk said. “There is a team of 45 doctors looking after the injured children.”
A state television correspondent described the scene as “terrifying” with the blood-splattered bodies of children on the ground, before they were taken to nearby Manfalut hospital.
President Mohamed Morsi has ordered the prime minister, the defence and health ministers and the Assiut governor “to offer all assistance to the families of the victims,” MENA said.
Transport Minister Rashad al-Metini has resigned in the wake of the tragedy, saying he “accepts responsibility” for the accident. Morsi has also accepted the resignation of the Egyptian Railway Authority head.
The railway network’s poor safety record stems largely from lack of maintenance and poor management. In Egypt’s deadliest railway tragedy, the bodies of over 360 passengers were recovered from a train after a fire in February 2002.