Second bridge collapse shows rising negligence in Turkey
ZONGULDAK - Doğan News Agency
Kin of missing people wait as hunt for victims resume after a bridge collapse. DHA photoA second section of Zonguldak’s Çaycuma Bridge fell down yesterday during demolition work that was necessitated after a portion of the bridge collapsed April 6, dropping vehicles and pedestrians into the swollen creek below.
During the work, a 30-meter length of the bridge fell into the Black Sea province’s Filyos Creek, creating panic but no fatalities or injuries, according to reports.
“The second collapse was something we were expecting,” Zonguldak Gov. Erol Ayyıldız said, adding that the collapse did not cause any damage.
When asked whether the bridge could have been demolished in a more controlled way, the governor said, “If there is any damage, we will compensate for it.”
The Çaycuma Bridge over the Filyos collapsed at around 4 p.m. on April 6, sending a minibus, an automobile and five pedestrians crossing the bridge into the quickly flowing water below. Two passengers from the automobile were rescued the same day, while one body was recovered April 8; 14 people remain missing.
Labor Minister Faruk Çelik said April 7 that the cause for the collapse was the increasing level of the creek.
Search operations to find the 14 missing people are continuing.
“We have searched an area of 12 kilometers. We cannot dive deep due to a lack of visibility underwater. There are pits up to 10 meters deep under the water,” said one of the search workers.
Meanwhile, Çaycuma Mayor Mithat Gülşen, whose father and nephew are among the missing, said yesterday that the bridge was handed over to Çaycuma Municipality from the General Directorate of Highways last year.
“They did some repair work on the bridge last year and then they sent us a letter saying that they were handing it over to the municipality. But we do not have enough in the budget to renovate this bridge,” he told reporters.
One main criticism about the accident was that the bridge collapsed due to a lack of repair work by the General Directorate of Highways. Although a new bridge was constructed right next to the collapsed one, officials did not close the old one but kept using it, other critics said.
The editor of the Çaycuma Sanat (Çaycuma Art) publication, Mevlüt Kırnapçı, wrote on March 20 about the high level of the creek and urged officials to take necessary measures.
Meryem Başören, whose body was discovered April 8, was laid to rest yesterday at a funeral in her hometown, Yolgeçen village.
Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, who came to observe the scene of the incident April 8, also visited Başören’s family to extend his condolences.
Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality has also sent two vehicles and a seven-person team to help with the search work in Çaycuma.