Page last updated at 19:52 GMT, Friday, 8 July 2005 20:52 UK

Turkish sheep die in 'mass jump'

The sheep were precious to the local villagers

Turkish shepherds watched in horror as hundreds of their sheep followed each other over a cliff, say Turkish newspaper reports.

First one sheep went over the cliff edge, only to be followed by the whole flock, according to the reports.

More than 400 sheep died in the 15-metre fall - their bodies cushioning the fall of 1,100 others who followed.

The sheep belonged to villagers in the eastern Van province. Papers say the sheep were worth around 42,000 in all.

"Every family had an average of 20 sheep," one villager told the Aksam daily newspaper.

"But now only a few families have sheep left. It's going to be hard for us."

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