14 people killed in Turkey as bus plunges into irrigation canal

A bus carrying school children, teachers and parents plunged into an irrigation canal in southern Turkey, killing 14 people - six of them children, officials and reports said yesterday.

Turkish rescuers lift a bus from a canal near Osmaniye, Turkey. Picture: AP

Twenty-six other people were injured in the accident which occurred late on Sunday as the bus was returning from a school trip to a national park and museum in the southern province of Osmaniye, govenor Kerem Al said.

Security camera video of the accident showed the bus driving into oncoming traffic at an intersection, being slammed by a car and rolling into the canal.

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By-passers and residents jumped into the canal to try and rescue people trapped inside the bus, Hurriyet newspaper reported. Most of the bodies were recovered by divers.

At least one of the injured passengers was in serious condition, health minister Recep Akdag said.

The children were from a school in the town of Iskenderun in Hatay province, which borders Syria and lies just south of Osmaniye.

Hurriyet said the dead included a teacher, the bus driver and the driver’s assistant.

Meanwhile in Belgium, a late-night passenger train slammed into a halted freight train, killing three people and sending nine others to the hospital. Two cars from the passenger train derailed and tumbled onto their side when it slammed into the freight train around 11pm Sunday at a speed of 55 mph in this riverside hamlet on the Meuse River, RTL broadcasting said.

Nine people were hospitalised, some in critical condition, and the death toll could rise, said Francis Dejon, mayor of St Georges-sur-Meuse. Twenty-seven other passengers were treated at the scene.

“The passenger train is really in a lamentable state,” Dejon told a news conference, saying the first train car was so badly damaged “it was curled back on itself.” State broadcaster RTBF said the dead included two passengers and the train’s driver. RTBF TV reported many of the passengers were students returning to school after the weekend.

Dejon said prosecutors were on the scene and investigating the cause of the accident, which came just hours after reported lightning strikes and a signal disruption on the line.

It took rescuers three hours to free people from the wreckage of the train, which carried around 40 people when it crashed 17 miles southwest of the city of Liege while travelling from Mouscron to Liers.

The collision occurred near a gravel pit and an abandoned mill.

When heavy morning fog lifted yesterday, witnesses could see the wheels and axle of one train car knocked loose by the impact.