Members of the Spor Toto Super League team Samsunspor narrowly survived after a train collided with the bus carrying Samsunspor crew early on Tuesday.
The team was coming from an away match against Kardemir Karabükspor. Twenty-three-year-old defender Hakan Arslan and 24-year-old midfielder Serdar Özkan were injured in the accident.
Speaking to the press, bus driver Recep Terzi said there was no sign of an oncoming train at the railroad crossing where the accident occurred. He said he stepped on the gas at the last moment, preventing a worse collision. Terzi said that while entering the city, he had to cross over a grade crossing where trains pass and added: “It was midnight. The ramps were up when I was about to cross. While slowly crossing, I realized a train was approaching and had its lights off. I immediately accelerated. After I stepped on the gas, the train hit the left back wheel of the bus and pushed us aside. If I had not seen the train at the last second, it would have hit the middle of the bus and that would have led to great damage and could have even cost many lives. The players awoke in panic; many later said they were lucky to have survived.”
Samsunspor General Coordinator Tarkan Demirhan said the signal lights of the grade crossing were green when they attempted to cross and added: “At that moment we saw the train coming. Our driver prevented the train from crashing into the middle of the bus by immediately stepping on the gas pedal. None of the players were seriously injured. Many of the players were sleeping and woke up in panic when the bus got hit. We were lucky to have survived such an accident.”
Speaking to the press, Samsunspor Chairman Kazım Gürol Yılmaz said they are happy the football players and other personnel on the bus survived such an accident without major injury. Yılmaz added that Sports Minister Suat Kılıç had called and showed concern over the incident. “Minister Kılıç said he was shocked when he heard the news. I would like to thank him for his concern on behalf of our team,” Yılmaz added.
Samsunspor experienced a similar accident 23 years ago in which the technical director, the driver and three players died.