TRNC in mourning after minibus carrying schoolchildren involved in fatal smash in Girne

An accident on the Girne mountain road involving a lorry and minibus full of school children has killed three and injured eight others.

The head-on collision occurred this morning by the Değirmenlik Taşocakları (Değirmenlik Quarries), as the minibus was on the school run, with both vehicles coming off the road.

Emergency services arrived to a scene of devastation: the impact of the crash had left the minibus crumpled beyond recognition, with parts scattered across the road and lay-by.

Three dead and three seriously injured

Minibus driver Denktaş Mutluel (aged 57), and pupils Esma Sude Demirkıran (aged 16) and İlayda Yeliz Öztürk (aged 17) lost their lives in the accident. Seven other minibus passengers were injured, three seriously.

After receiving medical treatment, the 25-year-old-lorry driver Safa Güngör was arrested by police on suspicion of causing the accident. According to local reports, it is believed he was trying to overtake driving uphill when he crashed into the oncoming minibus at around 07.10, which was taking teenagers to their high school in the capital Lefkoşa.

The details of the deceased and an update on the condition of those injured were given by Bülent Dizdarlı, head doctor at Lefkoşa Burhan Nalbantoğlu State Hospital, at a press conference at midday.

An urgent appeal for blood this morning resulted in a flood of people arriving at the hospital to donate, which Dr Dizdarlı also thanked the public for, stating they had now received sufficient blood.

After learning of the accident, both the TRNC Prime Minister Hüseyin Özgürgün and President Mustafa Akıncı have expressed their deep sorrow and extended their condolences to the affected families, while wishing a speedy recovery to those injured.

Kıbrıs newspaper reported that many journalists and organisations in South Cyprus had also extended their sympathies, and urged Greek Cypriots to cross to the North to give blood. Separately, South Cyprus government spokesman Nicos Christodoulides called TRNC Presidential spokesman Barış Burcu to convey their condolences and offer support.