At least 32 people have been killed in separate incidents in southeastern Turkey when vehicles crashed into first responders who were attending earlier accidents, authorities said.
Sixteen people died when a bus crashed into an earlier accident site, regional governor Davut Gul from southeastern province of Gaziantep said on Saturday. Twenty other people were wounded and received treatment.
Three firefighters, two paramedics and two journalists were among those killed on the highway between Gaziantep and Nizip, Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu wrote in a tweet. The other eight deaths were on the bus, he added.
“At around 10:45 this morning, a passenger bus crashed here,” Gul said, speaking from the scene of the accident on the road east of Gaziantep.
“While the fire brigade, medical teams and other colleagues were responding to the accident, another bus crashed 200 metres behind. The second bus slid to this site and hit the first responders and the wounded people on the ground.”
The Turkish news agency Ilhas said two of its journalists were killed after pulling over to help the victims of the initial accident, in which a car came off the highway and slid down an embankment.
Television footage showed an ambulance with severe damage to its rear while the bus lay on its side alongside the highway.
Separately, a lorry hit a site some 250km (155 miles) east in the Derik district of Mardin where first respondents were attending to another accident.
Sixteen people died and 29 others were injured as a result of the incident in Mardin, Turkish Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said, adding that eight of the wounded were in critical condition.
Turkey’s official Anadolu press agency said an accident involving three vehicles had happened at the same site shortly before, and emergency responders were already at the scene when the lorry ploughed into the crowd.
Turkey has a poor record of road safety. Some 5,362 people were killed in traffic accidents last year, according to the government.