Tui criticised after fatal bus crash in Turkey

Simon Calder
·4-min read
Turunc Bay in Marmaris, Turkey: istock
Turunc Bay in Marmaris, Turkey: istock

A Tui holidaymaker has criticised the travel firm after a fatal accident during an airport transfer in Turkey.

The traveller and her mother, who do not wish to be named, were among a party of holidaymakers who landed at Dalaman airport on Wednesday 5 August.

They were assigned to a minibus for the transfer to the resort of Marmaris. There was no Tui rep on board.

Within minutes of departing, their minibus hit a car. The holidaymaker, who was seated next to the minibus driver, said: “The crash was horrific, at what felt like full speed, and unfortunately the driver of the car, a local man, was killed at the scene.

“Many in our coach think our driver was speeding. Of the 15 of us on the bus, most of us had some form of injury or were in shock.”

The victim’s partner was left in a coma.

Several Tui minibuses that had reps on board were following and stopped at the scene. The travel firm says the first arrived within seconds and was able to provide help.

One woman fainted and was taken to hospital in an ambulance, but the injured passengers were assigned to various cars.

The holidaymaker said: “I was put in a transfer car with a couple, my mother and the husband of the lady who fainted.

“Eleven of us arrived at one hospital and the rest at other hospitals. There were no Tui reps there, the hospital had not been told we were coming and nobody spoke English. I was admitted to hospital for severe bruising with fear of internal bleeding.”

She remained in hospital for two nights. She said: “I have severe bruising and pain but I know it could have been a lot worse.

“Nobody from Tui was at the hospital until about four hours later – not that we knew, as they did not come to speak to me. My father in England had to call Tui and the British Consulate to get Tui to contact us.”

Her mother, who had been discharged after receiving blood-pressure medication and a wrist X-ray, had to track down their luggage.

They then faced a two-hour journey to their hotel in Marmaris. “My mother cried and gripped my hand the entire journey,” said the traveller.

“Despite being told a rep would be at the hotel to meet us and help with our prescriptions, there was no sign of Tui staff.

”Instead we were given a piece of paper with the name of a counselling service to call.

“A Tui manager came later in the evening when I asked for someone to help us get the medication we needed and offered us a free boat trip as compensation for ‘our trauma’.

“We are all appalled at Tui’s lack of compassion and help after this accident. In the hours and days after the accident we felt abandoned by Tui. There appears to have been no contingency plans should an accident occur.

“I want to ensure something like this doesn’t happen to others.”

The holidaymaker is also concerned that passengers were were not spoken to by the police at the time.

“We felt, that for the sake of his family and for his young partner in the car that we needed to make sure that it was known we felt our bus driver was speeding, that blame is likely to at least be shared,” she said.

Eventually they were told to make reports to the police in Marmaris, six days after the crash.

A spokesperson for Tui said: “We’re really sorry that our customers were affected by a minibus accident in Dalaman on 5 August. We are doing everything we can to help all of the customers involved.

“One of our reps was at the scene to provide immediate support at the time of the accident and our teams have also been providing continuous care to all affected customers at hospital and in resort. We have spoken to each individual family and offered support for their specific needs.

“We’re currently working closely with local police as they investigate the incident and our teams on the ground are assisting customers in submitting their own police reports.

“We will also be following up with each customer on their return to the UK.”

The Foreign Office travel advice for Turkey warns: “Accidents are common and mainly due to poor or reckless driving.”

According to the World Health Organisation, around 10,000 people die each year on the roads of Turkey. It has a road traffic fatality rate of 13 deaths per 100,000 people, more than three times higher than the UK.

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