Turkey: Train derails due to bad-weather, killing 10, injuring dozens
Ten people were killed and 73 injured today when a train packed with weekend passengers derailed in northwest Turkey, the Turkish Health Ministry said. The train, with over 360 people on board, was traveling from the Edirne region on the Greek and Bulgarian borders to Istanbul's Halkali station when six of its carriages derailed in the Tekirdag region. Here's more.
Over 100 ambulances have been sent to the scene, said Turkish Health Ministry Undersecretary Eyup Gumus. The Turkish army said in a statement that it had sent helicopters to the rescue scene. Television pictures showed several train carriages laying on their sides, and shocked injured being taken away on stretchers as rescue workers picked through the wreckage.
"The accident happened because of adverse weather conditions," Tekirdag Governor Mehmet Ceylan told the NTV channel. Reports said the surrounding area was muddy due to recent rains and the ground beneath the rails may have subsided away, causing the train to derail. The train derailed outside the village of Sarilar in the Corlu district of Tekirdag, reports said.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has been informed about the accident; he expressed his condolences over those who lost their lives. Turkish authorities under Erdogan have over the last years sought to modernize Turkey's once ramshackle rail network, building several high-speed inter-city lines.
Turkish passengers have in general preferred taking planes or the bus for inter-city travel but this is changing with the new high-speed lines. The train involved in the accident appeared to be one of the slower passenger trains traveling on a single track railway. Turkey's rail network has been hit by several fatal accidents over the last few years.
In Jan'08, nine people were killed when a train derailed in the Kutahya region south of Istanbul. In Turkey's worst recent rail disaster, 41 people were killed and 80 injured in July 2004 when a high-speed train derailed in the northwestern province of Sakarya.