At least 12 dead as truck crashes into nine cars and two minibuses in Turkey

The fatal pile-up happened when a truck driver crossed into the opposite carriageway, colliding with parked cars and minibuses of families saying goodbye to men leaving to carry out mandatory military service.

By Bethany Minelle, news reporter

At least 12 people have been killed and 31 others injured – including three seriously – in a multi-vehicle crash in southern Turkey, officials said.

The incident happened on Saturday evening in Hatay province – one of the areas worst hit by an earthquake earlier this year.

The pile-up happened when a truck driver lost control on the Iskenderun-Antakya highway, crossing over into the opposite carriageway.

The truck collided with nine cars and two minibuses, the state-run Anadolu news agency reported.

Many of the vehicles were parked at the roadside near a petrol station as friends and relatives said goodbye to men leaving to carry out mandatory military service.

The private Demiroren news agency said the truck was carrying excavated earthquake rubble and hit another truck before crossing the highway at around 7pm local time (5pm UK time).

Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said fires broke out, and tweeted that 22 ambulances and three medical rescue teams were sent to the scene in Topbogazli.

“May God have mercy on our citizens who lost their lives, I express my condolences to their relatives,” he said. “We will do our best to ensure that the injured regain their health as soon as possible.”

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Turkish police officers and emergency personnel work next to burned vehicles after the crash. Pic: AP

Witness Ali Sarrac said some of those killed had burned to death, Anadolu reported.

Images showed burning vehicles as emergency teams tried to keep people away from the blaze.

Hatay – which is near the Syrian border – was one of the worst hit of the 11 Turkish provinces affected by an earthquake that devastated parts of Turkey and Syria on 6 February.

The disaster is the worst in Turkey’s modern history with a death toll of at least 50,783, according to the country’s government.

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