09 July Monday

IMM’s Rescue teams work at the site of a train accident in Tekirdağ…

Following the train wreck which occured in Tekirdag, with the instructions of Mayor Mevlut Uysal, a total of 54 personnel, 13 vehicles, 4 high-tonnage cranes, various other construction vehicles, fuel tankers and mobile cafeterias were sent to the accident area.

Turkey mourns the victims of the train crash that occurred in the northwest region of the country Sunday, with the death toll rising to 24 as of yesterday. The survivors, meanwhile, detailed the moments of horror and how they narrowly escaped certain death.

Turkey was rocked by a train accident Sunday in Çorlu, a town in the northwest. Authorities announced yesterday that the death toll, initially announced as 10, rose to 24 and dozens were still being treated for injuries. The six-carriage passenger train with 362 people aboard was traveling from the Uzunköprü district of Edirne, a province on the border with Greece, to Istanbul's Halkalı district when it derailed Sunday afternoon. Survivors among the 318 injured in the accident broke into tears as they recounted the moments before and after the crash, the deadliest since a 2004 accident killed 41 people in the city of Sakarya.

The cause of the accident was erosion of soil under the railroad tracks, according to authorities that said recent heavy rains in the area completely eroded the soil in a section of the rail network. Images from the scene showed that section almost in the air with no support underneath. The accident was in an isolated, muddy area where access by cars or ambulances was impossible. Track vehicles were dispatched to the area to evacuate the injured, while residents of a nearby village were the first responders, helping the evacuation with their tractors. Gülsem said they had to walk about 2 kilometers. "Ambulances could not come. [The scene] was in the middle of nowhere; it was impossible to reach. We had to wait for one hour [for ambulances to come]," she recounted. "Everyone was trying to get help. They were phoning anyone they knew. It was a real mess. Thank God we only had slight injuries," she said.

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan issued a message of condolence for the accident victims and said the state mobilized all resources immediately after the incident. "It deeply upset the whole nation. The accident is being thoroughly investigated," the president said. The government announced that the railroad was last inspected in April, and no problems were found. Train service on the route began in May.

Trains, a staple of transportation between cities in the past, have become popular again since the government launched a drive to expand the country's rail network and introduced high-speed lines. The train involved in the accident was not a high-speed train. The accident is the deadliest since a high-speed train derailed in Sakarya, a city east of Istanbul, in July 2004, killing 41 people. In 2008, nine people were killed when another train derailed in the western city of Kütahya.




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