Around 21 people are said to have died due to a building collapse that reportedly occurred due to “illegal construction” in Istanbul on 6 February, 2019, Turkey’s interior minister said.
Suleyman Soylu added that 35 people had been rescued after being trapped under the wreckage, with 14 of those individuals extracted from under the debris.
The residential building in Istanbul’s Kartal district collapsed due to “reasons as yet unknown”, Turkey’s state news outlet, Andalou Agency, reported on 9 February. Thirty residents were said to be in the building at the time of its collapse.
A report by AP stated that Turkish government officials had blamed “illegal construction practices” for the apartment block’s collapse.
Turkey’s minister for environment and urban planning, Murat Kurum, reportedly said that the building had a permit to be only six floors high, but its top two floors had been illegally built “with low quality concrete and sea sand instead of construction-grade concrete and stronger steel”.
Turkey’s Health Minister, Fahrettin Koca, said on 9 February that 13 injured people, of which two were in a serious condition, had been admitted to the Lufti Kirdar Kartal Training and Research hospital.
Andalou Agency’s report cited Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan expressing his condolences for the victims, adding: “There are lessons we need to learn.”
According to AP, Erdogan, during a tour of the accident site, added: “In this area, we have faced a very serious problem with illegal businesses like this done to make more money.”
On the day of the collapse, Turkish Parliament Speaker Binali Yildirim said that people living in the nearby structure had been evacuated in a precautionary measure and “due to possible damage caused by the collapse”.
An Andalou Agency report on 6 February quoted a local resident stating that the building had 14 apartments. A team of 86 rescue professionals and 26 fire trucks had been deployed at the time.