Turkish Dorm Explodes, Collapses

Two Turkish boys trapped under the debris of a dormitory at an Islamic High School wait to be rescued in Kayseri in central Turkey early Friday, June 20, 2003, following what appeared to be a gas explosion that killed at least five students and trapped five others. Rescuers managed to pull 16 others out of the building following the explosion.
A student dormitory at an Islamic school exploded and collapsed in central Turkey early Friday, killing 10 students.

Rescuers using search dogs and heavy equipment pulled 13 people out of the building following the explosion at around 2:30 a.m. in the city of Kayseri, some 480 miles southeast of Istanbul. A total of 23 people had been inside the building.

"Unfortunately 10 students were killed," Gov. Nihat Canpolat said on private NTV television. He said 13 people were injured, and two were in serious condition.

A teacher was among the injured, officials said.

Canpolat and Mayor Mehmet Ozhaseki said a gas canister had likely exploded in the kitchen, causing the building's collapse.

Earlier television footage showed a giant slab of concrete covering one student. Another wandered around the rubble with a bloody gash on his head.

"We were sleeping. I heard a sound and then there was rubble on top of me," the Anatolia news agency quoted 17-year-old Abdullah Yapici as saying.

Another student, Hasan Huseyin Kilinc, was spared after he decided not to stay at the dormitory the previous evening.

"I missed my mother," Kilinc, 15, told Anatolia. "My father came to get me. I'm very sad to hear about my friends."

Officials said the students were staying at the dormitory while taking a course on how to read and recite the Quran.

In May, a dormitory in eastern Turkey collapsed in a magnitude 6.4 earthquake, killing 84 students. Critics blamed that building's collapse on shoddy construction.