Ciklos bend claims lives
THE search was still under way last night for a teenage girl believed to have been killed after floodwater swept a car off the Girne-Lefkoşa road, down a steep slope and into a lake on Wednesday night, killing three other young people.
The bodies of Tolga Bekçi, 21, Ahmet Kılıç, 23, and Günay Kandaz, 18, were recovered by the emergency services on Thursday. Mr Bekçi was found in a ravine at 7.30am and the others near the Doğanköy reservoir at 10am.
Ms Kandaz’s body was originally mistakenly identified as that
of Gaye Soyutok, 18, who had also been in the car when it left the road at the Ciklos bends above Girne.
A search by firefighters, Civil Defence and military personnel — including a helicopter that surveyed the area from above — was abandoned at 3pm on Thursday due to worsening weather conditions but resumed yesterday in the hope of recovering Ms Soyutok’s body after the mix-up was revealed by a post-mortem examination.
Divers discovered the navy blue Toyota that the group had been travelling in “smashed to pieces” in the reservoir at about 2pm. After it was hauled out of the water by a bulldozer, it was reported that the pool and an estimated 8m-deep layer of mud at the bottom, would be drained in the search for Ms Soyutok.
According to police, the four were heading towards Lefkoşa at around 11pm on Wednesday when tragedy struck in an area where there was a gap in the roadside crash barriers.
Distraught relatives gathered at the Lefkoşa State Hospital morgue, while the village of Dikmen was plunged into mourning for cousins Ms Soyutok and Ms Kandaz. Mr Bekçi, who was engaged to Ms Kandaz, was due to be buried in Değirmenlik yesterday.
A relative of the young cousins, who asked not to be named, told Cyprus Today the family was “torn apart” by the knowledge that Ms Soyutok was still missing.
“Not even a shred of her clothing has been found and God knows where her body has been dragged to. This family’s lives have been shattered,” she said.
“It’s so hard to think that after we told them not to go out in that weather they still did, just for a ride around the town, but couldn’t make it home.
“We are tired of blaming the government for the state of the roads and our main rebuke is for the police, who we heard told them not to drive through as the road was closed — but why wasn’t there a barrier across the carriageway?”
Prime Minister Tufan Erhürman, who toured the disaster areas and visited the scene of the horror crash on Thursday with his deputy and Foreign Minister Kudret Özersay, Mr Atakan, Agriculture and Natural Resources Minister Erkut Şahali and chief of police Süleyman Manavoğlu, expressed his sadness at the loss of life.
In a message expressing “deep regret” over the tragedy, and to all affected by the disaster, President Mustafa Akıncı said help would be given by the community and the state to “heal the wounds”.
Messages of condolence were issued by political parties, religious figures, business leaders and the Turkish government on Thursday.
From top left, clockwise, Ahmet Kılıç, Gaye Soyutok, Tolga Bekçi and Günay Kandaz