A minibus carrying undocumented Afghan, Pakistani and Bangladeshi migrants has crashed in eastern Turkey, killing at least 12 people and injuring 26 others, according to local authorities.
The crash occurred on Sunday morning in Van province’s Muradiye district near the Turkish border with Iran, where the vehicle caught fire after tumbling into a ditch, two local sources with information on the matter told Reuters news agency.
The identities of those killed in the accident were not immediately clear, both sources said, adding that the owner of the bus had been arrested.
Television broadcasts showed survivors being treated by the roadside as emergency workers sifted through the burnt-out wreckage.
Body bags could be seen by the wreckage, and personal items were strewn nearby.
Muradiye District Governor and Deputy Mayor Erkan Savar, Provincial Gendarmerie Commander Brigadier General Yuksel Yigit and District Gendarmerie Commander Lieutenant Colonel Evren Kaptan were at the scene receiving information from officials.
Migrants, mostly from Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan, regularly cross the Iranian border into Turkey on foot before being ferried west to cities such as Istanbul and Ankara.
The planned US withdrawal from Afghanistan has given added impetus to young men trying the mountainous route, according to the Ankara-based Center for Asylum and Migration Studies.
In June 2020, more than 60 migrants drowned in Lake Van when their boat sank.