Turgay İpek / Erzurum, July 7 () - Two workers were injured when they were trapped by a landslide which struck a ski-jumping complex in the eastern province of Erzurum on July 6, during the reconstruction of the complex about a year after a collapse in the same area.
The workers, Veli Budak and Kutal Gönülal, were trapped under masses of earth after a landslide occurred around 11:00 p.m. on July 6. Budak and Gönlüal were taken to the Erzurum Regional Training and Research Hospital by other workers who rushed to the scene. One suffered a broken arm and the other a crushed foot, but both Budak and Gönlüal were reported to be in good condition.
The two workers were among those who had been a part of the reconstruction effort after a collapse at the complex on July 15, 2014. Last year’s landslide completely ripped apart the 94-million Turkish Lira complex, which was built in 2011 in the Kiremittepe bastion located in the ski resort of Palandöken for the 2011 Universiade Winter Games, the first major international sporting event held in eastern Anatolia.
Experts said last year’s collapse was caused by basic engineering failures, including the construction of two artificial ponds near the top of the landing slope.
At first, officials hinted the landslide was caused by heavy rains, but experts who spoke to daily Hürriyet refuted the claims, stating the design contained a number of structural deficiencies, making the structure prone to landslides.
“We normally lighten the weight on the top of the hill to reduce the risk of a landslide. But those engineers have, on the contrary, put more weight by building [two artificial] ponds [at the top of the hill]. Such areas create more weight for the slope. It may resist at first, but at a certain point, that resistance will break” said Ahmet Ercan, a professor in geophysics at Istanbul Technical University. One of the ponds was located only 100 meters from the slope.