TODAY’S – Evidence shows fatal negligence at collapsed ski jumping site

Evidence shows fatal negligence at collapsed ski jumping siteAmid ongoing efforts to determine the reasons behind the collapse of ski jump towers in Erzurum, prosecutors have found new evidence of negligence, basic engineering faults and construction errors at the site.   The ski jumps, built in the eastern Anatolian city of Erzurum for the 25th Winter Universiade in 2011, collapsed in a landslide last Tuesday.

SarIdaIlar InIaat, a Turkish construction firm, was the contractor for the project. The incident sent shockwaves through bureaucratic circles in Ankara who had promoted the ski jumps as a success story for the Turkish sports sector back in 2011.

  Three of the five towers in the facility, 20, 40 and 60 meters high, totally collapsed, while the other two, 95 and 125 meters, sustained cracks in their walls, making them completely unusable. Turkey’s first ski jump tower facilities, located in the Kiremitliktepe area of Palandken, cost TL 67 million and included a hotel, landscaping, lighting infrastructure and a scoreboard.

  Prosecutors have initiated a fact-finding mission and launched an investigation into last week’s collapse. The team includes four construction and geology engineers from Ataturk University in Erzurum The mission’s initial report has revealed some fatal problems in the construction of the towers that supported the ski jumps.

The expert report shows how poorly the towers were built. An expert at the site in Erzurum found that the contractor used only one meter of steel piles in the towers’ foundations, Turkish media outlets reported on Sunday.

The reports said that SarIdaIlar was required to sink 50-meter-long steel piles into the ground to support the towers. Taking a deadly risk, the contractor first poured concrete into the tower foundation then sank only a one-meter-long pile in it, a critical fault.

Construction experts said, according to global standards, steel piles have to be at least 25 meters deep for towers this high. Even worse, the contractor incorrectly calculated the angle of the slopes on which the ski jumps were placed.

      Full report expected in 2 months   The Erzurum Public Prosecutor’s Office said it would wait for a detailed expert report within the next two months and that it would file a criminal complaint against those who are found guilty of negligence in the ski jump’s construction.   The investigation says SarIdaIlar is suspected of “risking construction safety by gross carelessness.

”  The fact that the Erzurum ski jumps were built in a landslide-prone area made the construction even more fragile to any quake or overloading, the experts said. They also said the contractor ignored measures to reinforce the tower structure against a potential earthquake.

The Erzurum Municipality had built a public café atop the 125-meter tower The café and its city view terrace received 200 visitors per day.Sources said they noticed some cracks in the towers a few weeks before last week’s collapse.

Local authorities evacuated the facility for safety reasons, and the national team ski jump team, which had arrived in Erzurum for training, also left the area ahead of the collapse.When Erzurum was awarded the right to host the Winter Universiade in 2011, the Turkish government made the largest investment in the history of the republic and spent over TL 600 million on building brand new facilities, including those in Erzurum 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.

SOURCE: Today’s Zaman