Day of catastrophic road accidents in Turkey kills at least 35

Firefighters, journalists and emergency workers among dead after one pile-up, while truck ploughs into pedestrians in another

Emergency responders get to work after a bus crash between Gaziantep and Nizip in Turkey. Reuters
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At least 35 people were killed and dozens injured in two separate road accidents in southeast Turkey on Saturday, a minister and local media reported.

In an accident in Derik in Mardin province, 16 people were killed after a lorry driver crashed into pedestrians.

The tragedy "occurred after the brakes gave out on a lorry which hit a crowd," Turkey's Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said.

A further 29 were injured, eight of them seriously, he said.

Turkish media shared graphic footage of a driver losing control of his truck, then careering towards nearby vehicles and pedestrians trying to flee.

Turkey's official Anadolu press agency said an accident involving three vehicles had happened at the same site shortly before, and emergency responders were already at the scene when the lorry ploughed into the crowd.

Earlier, a crash involving a bus and an ambulance killed 16 people and injured 21 in Gaziantep province, local media said.

Governor Davut Gul earlier said the accident had involved "a bus, an emergency team and an ambulance" on the road between provincial capital Gaziantep and Nizip.

The DHA news agency said a passenger bus had crashed into an ambulance, a firefighting truck and a vehicle carrying journalists at the site of a previous crash.

"Three firefighters, two emergency workers and two journalists figure among the dead," the Gaziantep governor said.

Photos on DHA showed the back of an ambulance ripped out and metal debris strewn around it.

The Ilhas News Agency said two of its journalists were killed after pulling over to offer help to people involved in the initial accident, in which a car came off the highway and slid down an embankment.

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

Updated: August 21, 2022, 12:03 PM