Sixteen dead in dormitory collapse in Turkey

Türkiye Materials 1 August 2008 15:43 (UTC +04:00)

A three-storey dormitory building collapsed in central Turkey early Friday morning, killing 16 people and injuring 27, with between four and five people trapped in the rubble, the NTV television station reported.

A gas cannister explosion was the most likely reason for the building to collapse at around 5 a.m. (0200 GMT) Friday morning, according to the mayor of the nearby town of Balcilar, Mehmet Demirgul, reported dpa.

Around 60 girls between the ages of eight and 16 were staying at the dormitory in the Taskent region of Konya where they were attending summer Quran courses.

More than eight hours after the collapse rescuers were working to rescue between four and five people still believed to be trapped in the rubble.

The Anadolu news agency quoted 13-year-old Merve Avci, a student staying at the dormitory, as saying that the explosion occurred after teachers discovered a gas leak. Avci said teachers went to the kitchen to investigate and told her to close the door to the kitchen.

"About five minutes after I had gone upstairs we began to smell gas in our dorm and almost immediately after that there was an enormous explosion," Avci said.