Seventeen dead in dormitory collapse in Turkey

Türkiye Materials 1 August 2008 20:33 (UTC +04:00)

A three-storey dormitory building collapsed in central Turkey early Friday morning, killing at least 17 people and injuring 27, reported dpa.

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

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 twelve hours after the collapse rescuers were still working to rescue three or four people still believed to be trapped in the rubble. Hopes faded on Friday evening that they would be found alive.

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.