A road accident in eastern Turkey has killed 17 people, mostly migrants, who had crossed into the country illegally.
The Governor of Igdir province, Enver Unlu, said 36 people were also injured in the accident late on Thursday on a highway linking his province with neighbouring Kars province.
Unlu said a minivan packed with migrants hit a light pole and caught fire. Some of the victims died in the crash while others were killed when they were hurled into oncoming traffic and hit by another minivan that was also carrying migrants.
The state-run Anadolu agency said the migrants were from Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Iran and that their vehicles had crossed into Turkey illegally from Iran.
The cause of the accident was under investigation.
At least seven of the injured passengers were undergoing surgery at a hospital in Igdir, Anadolu reported. Some other passengers who were in serious condition were transferred to hospitals in the cities of Erzurum, Kars and Van.
Anadolu quoted Igdir’s deputy chief health official, Taner Basaran, as saying as many as 50 migrants were “packed like sardines” into the minivans.
Unlu, the governor, said on arrival at the scene “we were faced with a painful migrant tragedy.”