Train derailment kills at least 24 in northwestern Turkey
At least 24 people were killed and more than 120 injured July 8 when most of a passenger train derailed in northwestern Turkey, Turkish authorities said.
Health Minister Recep Akdağ put the number of fatalities at 24 on July 9 and the number of people injured at 73, according to Turkey’s state-run Anadolu Agency.
Two drivers of the train were detained on July 9 as part of the investigation.
The Transport Ministry said five of the train’s six cars derailed in a village in Tekirdağ province after “the ground between the culvert and the rail collapsed” due to heavy rain.
The train was heading to Istanbul from Edirne, on the border with Greece, with 362 passengers and six crew members, the transportation ministry said.
An unnamed survivor told Demirören News Agency she had been in one of the cars that went off the tracks.
“There were deaths immediately, people whose legs were crushed. It was a horrible accident,” she said.
A photograph of the site showed collapsed ground under the rails. Video footage captured overturned cars and several people being carried away on stretchers.
Media ban issued
A media ban issued July 8 by the government, citing national security and public order, was lifted July 9.
Tekirdağ Governor Mehmet Ceyhan said the area where the derailment happened was muddy from heavy rain and difficult to reach.
Emergency services, military and ambulance helicopters arrived at the scene. The local Çorlu municipality tweeted hospitals needed blood donations for the injured.
A railroad expert who spoke to Turkish media claimed that recent privatizations led to a decrease in the number of “railroad watchmen” who were previously given the task of checking the physical condition of infrastructure to avoid such disasters.
The main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) had sent the government a parliamentary question in May, asking why the proposals to build new railroad bridges between Istanbul and Edirne were cancelled.
The government had replied then that the plans were cancelled after it was decided that it would not be possible to build the bridges without closing the whole line for a long period of time.
Transport Minister Ahmet Arslan said seven other trains had used the route earlier July 8 but the rain caused “extraordinary swelling.”
Judicial and administrative investigations were launched.