Turkey: Crashes at emergency sites kill at least 35 people

ISTANBUL — Turkish authorities on Sunday investigated a pair of secondary crashes at emergency sites that killed at least 35 people the previous day. In both cases, the dead included first responders who attended to previous collisions.

Saturday’s tragedies took place just 250 kilometers apart in southern Turkey. The first occurred on the highway between Gaziantep and Nizip when a passenger bus collided with emergency services responding to an accident in Mardin province, west of Derik.

Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu said three firefighters, two paramedics and two journalists were among the 15 dead. Eight of the victims came out of the bus, he said.

The Ilhas News Agency said two of its journalists were killed after stopping to help people involved in the first accident, in which a car came off the highway and skidded off an embankment.

Television images showed that an ambulance with heavy damage to the rear and the bus ended up on its side along the highway. Gaziantep Gov. Davut Gul said 22 people were injured in the secondary crash.

The other incident occurred late Saturday afternoon in Derik after the brakes of an articulated truck gave way, causing it to collide with two other vehicles near a gas station.

As first responders worked on the scene and the crowd gathered to watch, another truck lost control and ran into them.

Speaking from the site, Soylu said 20 people were killed and 26 injured. A police officer was among the victims and two drivers were detained while an investigation was launched, he said.

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Turkey has a poor road safety record. According to the government, 5,362 people died in traffic incidents last year.

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