The disaster left behind by this week's flash flooding in İstanbul has left harrowing images in many minds. One of these that has been shown over and over again in national and international media coverage of the tragedy captures a moment in the desperate story of five people stranded on top of a bus on the Basın Ekspres highway.The family, who escaped from the minibus they were in only moments before it disappeared beneath the rushing floodwaters, took refuge atop a bus that was behind them on the road. They spoke with Today's Zaman, explaining the frantic moments and fear for their lives they felt at the time. Mother Güldane Kaşıkçı says that after the family made their way to the top of the bus, she just clutched her children and began to sob. “If it hadn't been for that bus, my children and I would be in the graveyard right now,” she says. The family doesn't want to remember the fear-filled moments stranded in the middle of the flood, she says, but it's difficult to think of anything else. Kaşıkçı explained that she, her husband and three children had set out on the road in a minibus driven by her husband in the early morning hours on Wednesday. The family had spent the previous night at a friend's house and were on their way home. As they drove along the Basın Ekspres highway, all of a sudden the road filled with floodwater and before they realized what had happened, their vehicle was almost underwater.‘We used plastic bags to bail out water’
Luckily for the Kaşıkçı family, the outside of their minibus was equipped with metal bars that they were able to hang on to, the mother explained. “Inside the minibus, the water level was up to our waists; my husband and I began desperately trying to bail out the water with bags. But the water was never-ending. We worked for an hour trying to bail out the water. Then, the front and back windows of our vehicle suddenly shattered, and the waters came rushing in,” she said.The couple cast aside the plastic bags and tried to escape out of the minibus' windows with their children. “A person stranded on top of a bus behind us helped us out, helping our children, my husband and I get on top of the bus. When we were in the minibus, I thought our end had come, but when we got on top of the bus I regained some hope. It's hard not to think about death during such circumstances,” she said.
Kaşıkçı credits their being alive because the bus was swept right up against the minibus by the floodwaters. “If it hadn't been for that bus, my children and I would be in the graveyard right now. After waiting two hours on top of the bus, when the waters began to recede, we got down,” she said.