Two killed in Turkey canyon flood

July 21, 2014 - 1:02:57 pm

ISTANBUL: Two Turkish tourists were killed when flood waters surged through a canyon that is a major tourist attraction in western Turkey, with the mayor of the area saying their deaths were "God's will", media reports said Monday.

Unseasonably heavy rains prompted the flooding on Sunday at the Saklikent canyon in the Mugla region on Turkey's Aegean coast, which is hugely popular with tourists in the summer months.

One Turkish tourist died of heart failure as rescue workers pulled him from the water after he was hurled against rocks by the flood surge.

The body of another Turkish tourist who drowned was found Monday, the Hurriyet daily reported on its website.

Almost 50 tourists had to be rescued from the canyon while another eight who jumped into the waters to help rescue efforts had to be hospitalised, it added.

The local mayor, a representative of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), was quoted as saying that such flooding was highly unusual but also the will of God.

"Such floodings have not happened once before this season. The last such similar event was 15 years ago," said mayor of the Seydikemer district, Yakup Otgoz, quoted by the Dogan news agency.

"This is God's will," he added.

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan had faced criticism over the Soma coal mine disaster earlier this year that killed 301 people, saying such accidents are in "the nature of the business".

Footage posted on the Internet of the disaster at the Saklikent canyon showed scenes of panic as people desperately tried to save themselves and others as they were swept away with the raging flood waters.

The canyon, some 50 kilometres (30 miles) northwest of the resort town of Fethiye, is a hugely popular excursion destination for Turkish and foreign tourists alike. (AFP)