Nine dead 47 injured in high speed train crash near Ankara

UPDATED:

Nine people were killed and 47 injured after a high speed train hit a railway engine near a station in the Turkish capital of Ankara on Thursday, Turkish Transport Minister Mehmet Cahit Turhan said, BBC Turkish reported.

The Minister said three of the injured were in critical condition. 

The accident occurred around 6.30 a.m. at the Marşandiz railway station as the high speed train was travelling between Ankara and the central Turkish province of Konya. Governor Vasip Şahin said the accident occurred as the train hit a locomotive that carries out track inspections.

The train also crashed into a pedestrian overpass close to the station. The overpass collapsed and fell onto two of the train’s carriages. 

A machinist told BBC Turkish that the accident took place after two trains were guided to the same direction. 

Hasan Bektaş, the head of the Turkish Transporters Union, said that there was no signalling system on that part of the train line, Duvar news site reported

“The accident would not have happened if there were a signalling system,” Bektaş said. “The train line is managed here by using radiotelephones because the signalling has not been completed. That is the result when communication is made through radiotelephones, a primitive method,” he said.

Members of rescue services work at the scene of a train accident in Ankara, Turkey, Thursday, Dec. 13, 2018. (AP)

Three people working in the Turkish State Railways (TCDD) have been detained in relation to the accident, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said.

“All details of the accident will be examined, those responsible will be found and every necessary action will be taken,” he said. 

Turkey has seen several rail accidents this year. In July, a passenger train travelling from the Bulgarian border to Turkey’s biggest city Istanbul derailed, killing 24 people and injuring hundreds more. Last month, 15 people were injured when a passenger train collided with a freight train in the central province of Sivas, southwest of Ankara. 

Fourty-one people were killed and 80 were injured in 2004 after a high-speed train derailed in the northwestern province of Sakarya. It is known as the worst rail disaster in Turkey’s recent history.