The Holy Father sent a message of sympathy to Archbishop Edmond Farhat, apostolic nuncio in Turkey, upon hearing of the train crash that occurred last evening between Istanbul and Ankara that killed at least 36 people and left 79 injured.
“Having learned of the dramatic train accident that happened between Istanbul and Ankara and which caused many victims,” the message reads, “the Holy Father expresses his sympathy and his spiritual closeness to the families touched by this tragedy.”
“He entrusts the deceased to the mercy of the All Powerful and he assures all the wounded and their families of his prayers, remembering also all the people who took part in the rescue operation,” read the telegram.
“The Pope presents his sincere condolences to the authorities of the country and to the Turkish people, asking everyone to show support for those tried by this catastrophe. As a sign of comfort, he implores for everyone the support of divine blessings,” the message concluded.
Search and rescue efforts, launched after a high-speed train en route from Istanbul to Ankara derailed in northwestern Turkey, ended on Friday, the local Anatolia news agency reported.
The train left Istanbul at 6:00 p.m. Thursday (1500 GMT) with 234 passengers and 12 crew aboard. About halfway to Ankara, it derailed near Pamukova town of northwestern Sakarya province around 7:45 p.m. (1645 GMT).
According to the government crisis center, most of the casualties were in the first two cars of the five-carriage train.
The high-speed train made its first journey between Istanbul and Ankara on June 4, when Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Transportation Minister Binali Yildirim joined the first passengers of the train.