13 killed as passenger bus crashes in ditch after driver falls asleep near Antalya
ANTALYA – Doğan News Agency
The accident took place in a section of the road without turns. DHA PhotoThirteen people have died and another 31 were injured as a passenger bus crashed into a ditch in the southern province of Antalya after the driver fell asleep in the early hours of Sept. 14. Six of the injured are in critical condition, doctors have said.
Officials have said the bus was carrying local tourists from the Central Anatolian province of Afyonkarahisar for a tour in Antalya’s resort areas. The tour was reportedly organized by Afyon’s Chamber of Barbers for its members.
Hasan Kürklü, the governor of the neighboring province of Burdur, which the bus passed through before crossing into Antalya, said the accident took place in a straight section of the road, adding that according to witnesses, there were no external factors that may have caused the accident.
“Some of the witnesses’ testimonies say the driver was warned [not to fall asleep]. Perhaps he lost control of the wheel in a moment of panic when people tried to warn him,” Kürklü said.
The accident occurred around 5 a.m., just as the bus was nearing a recreation area to stop for breakfast.
Two other buses participating in the same tour returned to Afyonkarahisar after the accident.
İhsan Erol, a passenger on one of those two buses, said a crane was passing by and was able to pick up the bus that overturned.
“This allowed us to rescue some of the passengers trapped inside. If it didn’t pass by chance, maybe more of our friends would have died,” he said.
The accident is the deadliest that has occurred in Turkey this summer. Night journeys are frequent in Turkey, particularly in the summer, as it enables companies to avoid the heat and traffic on the roads.
Many deadly accidents have occurred over the past year, particularly during the winter due to ice, while a number of buses caught fire at the beginning of this summer, raising questions on bus travel safety and working conditions of the drivers.