By Cihan Demrici
TEKIRDAG, Turkey (AA) – At least 24 people were killed when a passenger train derailed in Turkey’s northwestern province of Tekirdag, Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Recep Akdag said on early Monday.
“24 our citizens have lost their lives [in the accident],” said Recep Akdag in a press briefing in Tekirdag.
Akdag said that search and rescue operations in the region have been completed as of 6:00AM local time.
Minister of Transport, Maritime Affairs, and Communications Ahmet Arslan said during the same meeting that routine controls on train rails, which have to be done once a year, had been made on April.
The train, carrying 362 passengers and six train staff, was traveling from Edirne province to Istanbul when five bogies derailed near Sarilar village of Tekirdag’s Corlu district on Sunday.
Mehmet Ceylan, Tekirdag’s Governor, said the accident was caused by heavy rains in the region.
Later, the Ministry of Transport said in a statement the accident occurred after the railway track slipped down from its original spot due to torrential rains.
Meanwhile, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was informed about the accident by Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu and Minister of Transport, Maritime Affairs, and Communications Ahmet Arslan over the phone, a presidential source said.
In a statement, Erdogan said the train accident is being investigated thoroughly.
Erdogan conveyed his condolences to the families of those who lost their lives in the accident and wished a speedy recovery to the injured passengers.
Turkish media watchdog Radio and Television Supreme Council (RTUK) has lifted a recent temporary broadcasting ban over the incident on early Monday.