Ankara train crash: At least nine dead and 47 injured in high-speed collision in Turkish capital

Emergency workers have arrived at the scene of the crash, which occurred in snowy conditions

Adam Withnall
Thursday 13 December 2018 06:48
Video footage shows aftermath of fatal high-speed train crash at Ankara station in Turkey

A high-speed train has crashed at a station in the Turkish capital Ankara, killing at least nine people and wounding dozens more.

A local TV network said multiple carriages from the train had derailed and a pedestrian overpass collapsed onto the wreckage.

The high-speed service, from Ankara to Konya, collided head-on with a locomotive that was inspecting tracks in the small station of Marsandiz and came off the rails, ploughing into the overpass.

Turkey's transport minister Mehmet Cahit Turhan said three drivers and six passengers died in the incident. Eight were killed at the scene, while the ninth was declared dead later in hospital.

Rescue teams used sniffer dogs to search for survivors among the warped wreckage of the train's front two carriages. Mr Turhan said the search was called off at around midday on Thursday, some hours after the crash took place.

Technical teams had begun an investigation into the cause of the crash, Ankara Governor Vasip Sahin said, while a Turkish TV network reported that three prosecutors have been assigned to the case.

The accident took place in snowy conditions, and it wasn't immediately clear whether there had been some sort of signalling failure.

Ayse Ozyurt, a passenger, told the IHA news agency the train crashed some 12 minutes after leaving Ankara's central 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 rail."

It is the second major train crash in Turkey this year. In July, a service from Uzunköprü to Halkalı derailed during torrential rainfall near the village of Çorlu. The death toll eventually rose to 24 and more than 300 were injured.

Konya, about 260km (160 miles) south of Ankara, is home to 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 Whirling Dervishes, members of a Sufi sect, perform.

Additional reporting by agencies

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