Nine dead after Turkish high-speed train crashes in Ankara

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Dozens more injured as train collides with another locomotive and then crashes into a pedestrian overpass at a train station in the Turkish capital

Emergency workers were trying to rescue people from carriages trapped beneath the mangled metal wreckage of an overpass at the Marsandiz train station (Reuters)
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Thursday 13 December 2018 14:22 UTC
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A Turkish high speed train has collided with another locomotive and crashed into a pedestrian overpass at a train station in Ankara, killing nine people and injuring 47.

Video footage on Thursday showed emergency workers at the snow-laden scene, working to rescue people from carriages trapped beneath the mangled metal wreckage of an overpass at the Marsandiz train station, to the west of the Turkish capital.

The accident occurred around 6.30am (0330 GMT) as the train was travelling between Ankara and the central Turkish province of Konya.

The Marsandiz station is around 8km from the main Ankara train station.

Governor Vasip Sahin told reporters at the scene that the crash was caused by the high-speed train hitting a locomotive which carries out track inspections.

It was not clear at what speed the trains were travelling when the crash occurred, but it occurred at a station where the Ankara-Konya train does not stop.

Three train drivers were among the nine killed in the crash, Transport Minister Cahit Turhan told reporters on the scene.

There were 206 passengers on the high speed train, according to state-owned Anadolu news agency, which also reported that the Ankara state prosecutor's office had launched an investigation.

Images published by Turkish media showed some wagons had derailed and debris from the train scattered on the rail track, which was covered in snow.

The windows of one wagon were completely broken while another wagon had been smashed after hitting the footbridge, which also collapsed, an AFP correspondent at the scene said.

Fatal accidents

The Ankara to Konya high-speed route was launched in 2011 and was followed in 2014 with a high-speed link between Ankara and Istanbul.

The accident comes after another rail disaster in July when 24 people were killed and hundreds more injured after a train derailed in Tekirdag province, northwest Turkey, due to ground erosion following heavy rains.

Turkey's rail network has been hit by several fatal accidents in recent years.

In March 2014, a commuter train smashed into a minibus on a railway track in the southern Turkish province of Mersin, which left 10 dead.

In January 2008, nine people were killed when a train derailed in the Kutahya region south of Istanbul because of faulty tracks.

Turkey's worst rail disaster in recent history was in July 2004 when 41 people were killed and 80 injured after a high-speed train derailed in the northwestern province of Sakarya.

Turkey has been developing a network of high-speed rail links during President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's 16-year-old rule as it looks to ease the burden on increasingly congested highways.