TWO separate explosions in an industrial district of the Turkish capital killed at least 12 people today and injured dozens of others, authorities said.
A powerful explosion collapsed two storeys of a factory, leaving at least six people dead and injuring 34 others, Interior Minister Besir Atalay said.
Hours later, another explosion shook a paint workshop in the same industrial zone, killing six more people, said Ankara’s mayor Melih Gokcek. The cause of the explosions was under investigation, authorities said. Mr Gokcek, however, told CNN-Turk television that the factory blast was probably sparked by oxygen tanks. He did not give details.
A huge blaze trapped about eight workers inside the building where the second blast happened, Mr Gokcek said. Search and rescue teams were trying to evacuate the trapped workers, he said. Rescue officials also combed the rubble at the site of the first explosion for workers who may be trapped inside as well.
“Our hope is that there are no other deaths inside the ruins,” Mr Atalay said at the scene of the first blast, which ripped off the building’s glass-covered facade and shattered the windows of nearby buildings. Twisted metal and concrete slabs were strewn across the nearby area. NTV news channel showed medics helping an injured man into an ambulance, while passers-by helped another lying on the pavement outside the four-storey building.
A witness told NTV he saw dozens of people covered in blood lying on the ground before ambulances arrived at the scene. Fethi Yasar, mayor for the area, said around half of the factory’s 80 workers had escaped unharmed.