Turkey: 17 people, mainly migrants, killed in road accident

March 30, 2018
Members of emergency services work at the scene of a road accident near the northeastern city of Igdir, Turkey, late Thursday, March 29, 2018. A senior official says 17 people, mostly migrants, were killed in a road accident when a minivan packed with migrants hit a light pole and caught fire. (Suat Deniz/DHA-Depo Photos via AP)

ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — A road accident in eastern Turkey has killed 17 people, mostly migrants, who had crossed into the country illegally, a senior official said.

Governor of Igdir province, Enver Unlu, said 36 people were also injured in the accident late on Thursday on a highway linking his province with neighboring Kars province.

Unlu said a minivan packed with migrants hit a light pole and caught fire. Some of the victims died in the crash while others were killed when they were hurled onto oncoming traffic and hit by another minivan that was also carrying migrants.

The state-run Anadolu agency said the migrants were from Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Iran and that their vehicles had crossed into Turkey illegally from Iran.

The cause of the accident was under investigation.

At least seven of the injured passengers were undergoing surgery at a hospital in Igdir, Anadolu reported. Some other passengers who were in serious condition were transferred to hospitals in the cities of Erzurum, Kars and Van.

Anadolu quoted Igdir’s deputy chief health official, Taner Basaran, as saying as many as 50 migrants were “packed like sardines” into the minivans.

Unlu, the governor, said on arrival at the scene “we were faced with a painful migrant tragedy.”

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