Wed, Aug 15, 2007 - Page 6 News List

Turkish ferry rams Ukranian-flagged freighter head on

DAMAGE It was not clear whether there were any injuries aboard the freighter, which was struck near the entrance to a narrow waterway

AP , ISTANBUL

A Turkish ferry rammed head-on into a Ukranian-flagged freighter ship anchored off the northwest coast on Monday, slightly injuring 48 ferry passengers, officials said.

The ferry, although damaged, returned to dock in Istanbul shortly after the accident. Ambulances and helicopters took the injured to nearby hospitals, the Maritime Affairs office said in a statement.

Tolga Uyar, a spokesman for the ferry company, said, "[the injured] are not in serious condition and are being transferred to local hospitals," adding that most of the injured passengers hit their heads on seats or other parts of the ferry during the collision.

Uyar said the accident occurred when the ferry -- named Salih Reis-4 -- rammed the anchored freighter -- named Semyon Rudnev. It was not clear whether anyone was injured aboard the freighter, which was also slightly damaged.

"We panicked a lot, I am still trembling," the private Dogan news agency quoted Cigdem Mutlu, who was traveling with her 6-year-old daughter, as saying. "We first heard screams of other passengers, then everybody started shouting and we were all pushed forward. Everybody took out life jackets, many people had head injuries and some were bleeding."

The accident occurred near the entrance to Istanbul's busy Bosporus, a narrow waterway which bisects the city and is part of the only sea link between the Black and the Mediterranean Seas.

Ship accidents are not uncommon in and around the Bosporus, which is frequently used by freighters loaded with flammable gas and domestic ferry boats carrying passengers between the two sides of Istanbul.

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