At Least 12 Killed, 31 Injured in Multi-Vehicle Crash in Turkey

A driver lost control of their truck before crashing into 9 cars and two minibusses, per a state-run news agency

IHA via AP Vehicle crash Saturday in Turkey
IHA via AP Vehicle crash Saturday in Turkey

A multi-vehicle crash in Turkey left at least 12 people dead on Saturday, according to the state-run Anadolu news agency.

The agency reports that the crash in Turkey's Hatay province also injured 31 other people, with three seriously injured, per the Associated Press.

Related:Turkey-Syria Earthquake: Mom Breastfed Baby While Buried in Rubble and Says Son's Strength Helped Her Survive

The crash took place when a truck driver reportedly lost control of their vehicle and crossed into opposite lanes, hitting nine cars and two minibusses — several of which were parked by a road near a gas station. At the time, friends and relatives were there to say goodbye to men leaving for military service, per the agency.

The Demiroren news agency, as cited by the AP, reports that the truck was carrying excavated earthquake rubble as it hit another truck on the highway at 7 p.m.

"May God have mercy on our citizens who lost their lives, I express my condolences to their relatives," Health Minister Fahrettin Koca wrote in a translated tweet. "We will do our best to ensure that the injured regain their health as soon as possible."

The minister added that the Iskenderun-Antakya highway saw fires break out as 22 ambulances and three medical rescue teams appeared at the scene.

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The AP reported Hatay was hit hard during the February earthquakes in Turkey and Syria, which the government said left 50,783 dead in Turkey.

At the time, Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan called the 7.8-magnitude quake the disaster of the century, per the New York Times. And as a result, 10 provinces in Turkey were issued to be under a three-month state of emergency, while the Turkish government was criticized for its response to the event and preparation.

Erdoğan admitted then that the government was not entirely efficient in its initial response to the quake, and said the government would distribute 10,000 Turkish lira (or about $532) to families impacted by the disaster, as previously reported. Erdoğan was accused by Kemal Kilicdaroglu, the leader of Turkey's main opposition party, of not properly preparing the county for the disaster, per the AP.

It also reportedly marked the deadliest earthquake worldwide since 2015, when a 7.8-magnitude quake left 8,800 people dead in Nepal.

Related:Turkey-Syria Earthquake: Brothers Survived on Urine and Protein Powder While Trapped in Rubble for 200 Hours

Among those killed in the quakes was a New York City family who was visiting when it struck the region. The sole survivor in the family is an unnamed man, who attempted to save his family by digging through the rubble himself, according to an interview given by Salma Salazar to CNN.

Salazar told the network that the man had undergone an open-heart procedure beforehand and so her sister 32-year-old Kimberly, and Kimberly's husband Burak Firik, 35, and their sons, Hamza, 2 and Bilal, 1, went to visit him at the time. The four family members and Burak's mother died.

"He basically saw his building collapse before his own eyes, and he couldn't do anything," Salazar said of her sister's father-in-law. "He spent over 12 hours digging and just finding people to help him dig because the machines weren't able to go in."

"We're all very broken in my family. Our hearts are broken."

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