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13 killed as bus plunges into river in Turkey

Hopes were fading for an undetermined number of others feared trapped in the wreckage underwater.

india Updated: Mar 09, 2006 16:57 IST
Agence France-Presse
Agence France-Presse

At least 13 people were killed when a bus plunged into a river in northeastern Turkey on Thursday and hopes were fading for an undetermined number of others feared trapped in the wreckage underwater, a local official said.

It was not immediately known why the bus went off the road and into the Kelkit River near Resadiye, in Tokat province, some 330 kilometers northeast of Ankara, sub-governor Ferhat Kurtoglu told the agency.

An initial toll was of one dead and 11 rescued injured before the bus was fully immersed by rising waters, but search and rescue teams recovered 12 more bodies, some from the crash site and some from as far as 20 kilometers downstream, Kurtoglu said.

Among them were a child and two women, he added.

The official said the exact number of people aboard was not clear, although the company operating the bus said 39 ticketed passengers boarded the bus from Istanbul to Van, eastern Turkey -- a trip of more than 1,600 kilometers.

"We do not think the (company) list is completely accurate," he said. "We do not have clear information on the number of children or passengers travelling on the bus without tickets."

He said he expected the death toll to rise.

"One never gives up hope in God, but they have been under water for several hours," Kurtoglu said.

Authorities cut off water flowing into the river from a nearby dam to reach the wreckage, exposing half the vehicle, as divers and firemen joined the rescue effort, the Anatolia news agency reported.

First Published: Mar 09, 2006 16:57 IST