Istanbul tram collision injures at least 33

Footage on Turkish TV shows aftermath of crash involving tram and bus

A tram on Istiklal Avenue in Istanbul, the scene of a deadly bombing last month. Another tram was involved in a crash on Monday in the city's Alibeykoy district. Reuters
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At least 33 people were injured when a tram smashed into a bus that had missed a red light in Istanbul, Turkish media reported on Monday.

Footage on local television showed the site of the accident after the tram rammed into the side of the bus.

Emergency service personnel were seen attending to the injured in the Alibeykoy district.

Firefighter rescued at least one person who had been trapped in the wreckage of the bus, Anadolu state news agency reported.

At least four people were reportedly seriously injured.

Metro Istanbul said it had temporarily suspended the bus-tram line between the T5 Cibali-Alibeykoy and Cibali-University stations.

The moment of the crash was captured by CCTV camera and broadcast by the TRT Haber television station.

The accident took place at 9.15am, when an IETT bus carrying a number of passengers reportedly missed a red light while crossing the tramway and the tram ploughed into its right-hand side.

Firefighters were forced to douse the crash site and surrounding area with water due to the bus leaking fuel heavily, officials said.

“Unfortunately, 33 of our citizens were injured in the traffic accident that occurred at Alibeykoy Tram Stop this morning,” Istanbul governor Ali Yerlikaya tweeted. "I wish a speedy recovery to our citizens whose treatment continues. Get well soon."

Security camera footage showed the tram hitting the bus, pushing it into a security booth and other stationary vehicles in the adjoining car park. The tram left the rails due to the force of the impact.

Car park officer, Selahattin Sahin’in, told reporters at the scene he saw the bus break in half.

"We barely got out of our booth, God protected us," Mr Sahin’in was quoted as saying by Anadolu.

Witnesses said they initially believed an earthquake had struck given the force of the crash and the accompanying noise.

"When we arrived, the tram had completely shattered the bus,” one witness said. "There were injured people. We immediately called the ambulance and fire department. There were passengers in both vehicles. The tram driver was also injured."

People working nearby said one of the traffic lights at that intersection had been malfunctioning for several days.

“It was obvious that this would be the case today” Beulent Kahveci, a businessman who works in the area, told Anadolu. "There has been a problem with these lights for about 10 days, they are constantly coming for repairs. In the place where Istanbul's heaviest traffic is, the tram is operated with a lighted system."

The city has been on alert since a deadly street bombing last month left six people dead, including two children, and wounded more than 80.

The attack came as a reminder of the bombings that hit Turkish cities between 2015 and 2017, shattering the public’s sense of security.

Updated: December 05, 2022, 12:08 PM
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