Sixteen migrants were killed and 51 injured after a minibus carrying migrants overturned in the eastern province of Van, a Turkish local governor confirmed on Thursday.
Speaking to reporters at the Van Regional Training and Research Hospital after visiting injured people, Mehmet Emin Bilmez, Van’s Governor said the driver, who had previously faced charges of smuggling, also died at the scene.
The accident reportedly took place near the border with Iran at 09.00 am when the driver lost control of the vehicle, which then went off the road and rolled into a ditch.
“Sixty-seven people were forced into the minibus which normally has a capacity of 17-18 people,” Bilmez said.
Among those who died were women and children. Footage from the scene showed the minibus in the ditch, with the casualties laid out on the side of a road.
Some of the passengers had fallen off the bus as it rolled into the ditch, according to Turkish broadcaster, NTV said.
According to Bilmez, the occupants are thought to be Bangladeshi, Afghan, and Pakistani.
Turkey is one of the transit countries for many migrants fleeing war, persecution, political crackdowns and poverty while trying to reach Europe.
In recent years, more than a million migrants and refugees passed through the country on their way to the European Union (EU) states.
Trying to reduce the number of migrants crossing Turkey, the EU concluded a deal with Turkey on March 18, 2016, which saw a sharp decrease in number of crossing migrants.
Turkey reached the deal in exchange for €3 billion from the EU aid and a promise to ease visa restrictions for Turks and began to tighten controls on migrants trying to reach Europe.