The bus, travelling with 30 passengers, one driver and one assistant, initially got stuck in snow which prevented it from tumbling further down into the stream yesterday at midnight. However, this did not last long, as an avalanche forced it out of the snow and 20 metres downhill into Bitlis stream at 2.00 am, while the male passengers were attempting to free the bus of the snow. Some passengers were able to get out of the bus with their own efforts, while others, stuck in the overturned bus, could not move. Those who lost their lives whilst waiting for hours for the rescue teams to arrive froze to death at minus 12 degrees. Rescue teams stated that it may have been the noise of the motor that caused the avalanche.
The dead and wounded
Bitlis Vice-governor, Mehmet Türköz, said that the accident was reported to them at 03:30 am, and that they dispatched rescue teams immediately. “We took the wounded to hospital. As their mobile phones had no reception in the area, the driver walked to nearby facilities where he made the phone call”, declared Türköz.
Erkan Kılıç (24), Melike Akdağ (50), Azize Çoklu (60), Kemalettin Boran (33), Serpil Batu (20), Mustafa Arslan (37), Mustafa İğricik (22) and the 2 year old Handan Yıldız lost their lives in the accident.
These are the 15 people who were wounded and hospitalised: Driver Aydın Tokdemir, Kahraman Ak, Zemirhan Söylemez, Reis Pigi, Murat Ataş, Funda Kaplan, Erkan Sarıca, Remziye Yıldız, Hediye Yıldız, Mehmet Yıldız, Fikriye Keskin, Azize Demir, Suzan Çoklu and Şeyhmuz Gökçen.