Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 22 August 2019

Death toll rises in high speed train crash in Turkey's capital

Authorities detain three railway workers over crash that killed nine and injured 47

A high-speed train struck another locomotive and crashed into a pedestrian overpass in the Turkish capital Ankara on Thursday, killing nine people and injuring 47.

Video footage showed emergency teams working to rescue people from carriages trapped beneath the mangled metal wreckage of an overpass at the Marsandiz train station, to the west of Ankara.

The accident happened about 6.30am local time as the train was travelling between Ankara and the central Turkish province of Konya. The Marsandiz station is about eight kilometres from the capital’s main train station. The dead included three engine drivers.

Governor Vasip Sahin said the high-speed train hit a locomotive that carries out track inspections.

“Our hope is that there are no other victims,” he said.

More than 200 passengers were on the train at the time of the crash. It occurred four minutes after the train left Ankara.

It was not clear at what speed the trains were travelling when the crash happened, but it occurred at a station where the Ankara-Konya service does not stop.

A signalling problem may have caused the crash. Mr Sahin said a technical inspection had begun but Turkey’s state-run news agency said authorities had detained three state railway agency employees suspected of negligence.

Turkey’s state-run news agency said authorities had detained three state railway agency employees suspected of negligence.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan vowed a thorough investigation and said those responsible would be brought to justice.

Passenger Ayse Ozyurt told the IHA news agency that the accident occurred about 12 minutes after the train left the main station and that it had not yet gained maximum speed.

“The train was not fast at that time yet,” she said. “Suddenly, there was a frightening breakage ... and the train was off the rails.”

In July, 24 people were killed and more than 70 injured when most of a passenger train derailed in north-west Turkey after torrential rains caused part of the tracks to collapse. Last month, 15 people were injured when a passenger train collided with a freight train in Turkey’s central province of Sivas.

The US embassy in Ankara expressed its “deepest condolences” to the victims. “We share the great sorrow and wish quick recovery to the many injured,” it said on its official Twitter account.

Konya, which is about 260 kilometres south of Ankara, is the site of the tomb of the Sufi mystic and poet Jalaladdin Rumi, and attracts thousands of pilgrims and tourists.

The crash occurred during an annual week of remembrance for Rumi, when many travel to Konya to watch performances by the whirling dervishes, members of a Sufi sect.

Updated: December 13, 2018 04:25 PM

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