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At least 17 dead as Turkey bus 'bursts into flames'

The bus carrying illegal immigrants hit a lighting pole in eastern Turkey [Getty]

Date of publication: 30 March, 2018

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Turkish media said a bus carrying illegal immigrants burst into flames late on Thursday, killing 17 people and wounding 36 others.

At least 17 people were killed and another 36 wounded after a bus carrying illegal immigrants hit a lighting pole in eastern Turkey and burst into flames, local media reported on Friday.

The bus, which crashed on the Igdir-Kars highway late on Thursday, was carrying nationals from Iran, Pakistan and Afghanistan, the state-run Anadolu news agency reported.

Images in Turkish media showed smoke rising from the charred bus with its front smashed and migrants lying on the road with bloodied faces.

"When we arrived at the scene we found a... migrant tragedy," Igdir province governor Enver Unlu told reporters at the scene.

"We are deeply saddened that the frequent smuggling of migrants, which goes on in our province, has ended in a traffic accident."

Health officials said some of the injured were in a serious condition.

The bus had capacity for 14 people but more than 50 people including women were on board, according to Anadolu.

The Igdir public prosecutor has opened an investigation into the incident while officials sought to identify the driver.

Thirteen illegal migrants were detained by security forces inside another bus, which Anadolu said had been on the same journey as the one involved in the crash.

Road accidents are common in Turkey. Some 3,530 people were killed on the roads in 2017, Turkish state broadcaster TRT said in February. 

Earlier this month, thirteen people including children were killed and 20 others injured when a Turkish passenger bus burst into flames after colliding with a truck in northern Anatolia.

The bus, which was travelling from Istanbul to the northern city of Tokat, hit the truck on a motorway in Corum province early in the morning.

In January, 11 people were killed when a Turkish intercity bus taking families bound for a half-term skiing trip crashed into trees while travelling on a motorway from the capital Ankara to the western city of Bursa.

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