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Last Updated: Thursday, 9 March 2006, 15:08 GMT
Hopes fade in Turkey bus plunge
Rescuers work to free people from a bus in a river in Turkey

Sixteen people are dead, and at least 16 more feared killed, after a bus plunged into a river in central Turkey.

The bus fell into the fast-flowing Kelkit river in Tokat province, about 330km (200 miles) east of Ankara.

Eleven survived the crash. Divers were looking for those missing hours after the crash - but hopes of finding more survivors are fading, officials say.

The bus was carrying passengers from Istanbul to the eastern city of Van, near the Iranian border.

One passenger reportedly managed to free himself from the bus and walk to a nearby village to raise the alarm, the Anatolia news agency reported.

One never gives up hope in God, but they have been under the water for several hours
Ferhat Kurtoglu
Local official

Some of the 13 bodies recovered so far were found as far as 20km (12 miles) downstream from the crash.

It is not clear exactly how many people were on the bus.

The company operating the service said there were 39 ticketed passengers, but a local official said there could have been more on board.

"We do not have clear information on the number of children or passengers travelling on the bus without tickets," sub-governor Ferhat Kurtoglu told AFP news agency.

He said he had little hope of finding more survivors.

"One never gives up hope in God, but they have been under the water for several hours," he said.



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