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Turkish Winter Tourism Complex Collapses

Turkish Winter Tourism Complex Collapses

This video shows the spectacular moment when a supposedly state-of-the-art ski jump area in Turkey collapsed into a ruin after builders apparently made major errors during the construction work.

Prosecutors confirmed this week that investigators including engineers as well as a geologists were on the site and found evidence of negligence and basic engineering faults during the building work of the ski jumping complex in the eastern Anatolian city of Erzurum for the 25th Winter Universiade in 2011.

The project was unveiled as example of Turkey in the modern era and was promoted as a centre to help train up a new generation of Turkish winter sports stars but that hope ended when the entire complex literally collapsed. Three of the five towers in the facility, 20, 40 and 60 metres high, totally collapsed, while the other two, 95 and 125 metres, sustained cracks in their walls, making them completely unusable.

The complex had been built by Ar Insaat, a Turkish construction firm, as part of a multi-million pound high-profile PR exercise. It was Turkey's first ski jump tower facility and cost 19 million GBP, including a hotel, landscaping, lighting infrastructure and a scoreboard. The belief was that the games would develop winter sports in the country and eventually attract the top event, the Winter Olympics, to Turkey. Turkish authorities also placed heavy importance on the Erzurum facilities amid efforts to prepare the national team for the next Winter Olympic Games in China's PyeongChang in 2018.

Erol Mehmet Yarar, head of the Turkish Skiing Federation, said: "Initial findings are that the builders used only a single metre of steel piles (which provide the foundation) in the towers' foundation which was a major mistake, as a 50 metre long steel pile was pre-specified in the architect's plans. International standards require at least 25 metre deep piles for the towers of the size of those that collapsed.

"Given that the whole complex was built in an area prone to earthquakes makes this oversight a major error."

Yarar also said heavy rains that hit the region appear to have prompted the disaster.

The full report is expected in two months after which Zrzurum Public Prosecutor's Office will make a decision on what charges would be made against whom.

The fact that nobody was killed was attributed to the fact that alert staff at the complex had noticed some cracks in the towers a few weeks before last week's collapse, and evacuation had been carried out which included sending the Turkish national team ski jump team home while checks were carried out.

It had been inaugurated in 2011 by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

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