16 Girls Killed, More Trapped in Turkey Dorm Collapse

Rescue teams dig frantically to unearth survivors
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Aug 1, 2008 9:35 AM CDT
Rescue workers search for survivors in the rubble of a collapsed dormitory in the village of Balcilar, near the central Turkish city of Konya, Friday, Aug. 1, 2008. The three-storey girl's dormitory...   (Metin Yasar)

(Newser) – A three-story dormitory housing female students collapsed in central Turkey today, killing at least 16 girls, injuring at least 27, and setting off a search for a half-dozen students believed to be under the rubble. The students, between ages 8 and 16, were attending Koran courses in the city of Balcilar during the school summer break.

Frantic rescue workers removed debris with shovels, pickaxes and their bare hands in search of  survivors. "We are hearing voices. I believe those inside the rubble will be saved," the city's mayor told local television. Reports have suggested that the explosion was most likely caused by a leak from a gas installation.