24 killed as train derails in Turkey

ISTANBUL: Twenty-four people were killed and 318 injured when a passenger train derailed in Turkey’s north-western Tekirdag province, the state-run Anadolu news agency reported on Monday, blaming heavy rain for the accident.
“A train accident occurred as a result of a landslide underneath the tracks due to heavy rain,” Deputy Prime Minister Recep Akdag told reporters in Tekirdag, adding that rescue efforts had concluded by 6 am. A total of 124 people were still receiving treatment at nearby hospitals, Anadolu added.
Legal investigations have been launched into the incident, the report quoted Akdag as saying.
Two drivers were detained and were giving a testimony to the local prosecutor in Tekirdag private broadcaster CNN Turk said on Monday.
Five coaches from a train carrying 362 passengers and six attendants came off the tracks on Sunday.
The train was travelling to Istanbul from Kapikule on the Bulgarian border, according to Anadolu.
It derailed near the village of Sarilar, about 30 km west of Istanbul.
State-run broadcaster TRT on Monday showed footage of bulldozers removing the overturned carriages while workers were installing new tracks and rails at the scene of the accident, which was covered with mud.
The exact cause of the accident was not immediately clear.
Some local media outlets, including the Sozcu daily, reported that it had been caused by a collapsed bridge.
The prime minister’s office issued a temporary media ban on the site of the accident on Sunday, citing “national security and public order.” The ban was lifted on Monday, according to Anadolu.
Anadolu quoted Transportation Minister Ahmet Arslan as saying that the latest security checks at the railway had been made in April.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said the train accident is being “investigated thoroughly,” his office reported late on Sunday. — dpa