Football star killed in tragic accident
CZECH Republic international Josef Sural is dead and six other Alanyaspor players have been injured in an accident involving their private luxury van on the way home from a Turkish league football match.
The 28-year-old Sural died in hospital during emergency surgery, Alanyaspor president Hasan Cavusoglu said.
The six injured players are reported to be in stable conditions. They include former Tottenham defender Steven Caulker, capped once by England, and ex-Newcastle striker Papiss Demba Cisse.
Cavusoglu said Sural and his six teammates had hired the van to return from a game at Kayserispor in central Turkey. The crash occurred near the entrance to the town of Alanya, on Turkey's Mediterranean coast.
Cavusoglu claimed the driver had fallen asleep behind the wheel and was being questioned by police.
"According to information I received from our police chief, despite there being two drivers on the vehicle, they were both asleep," he said.
"The crash happened as a result of them both being asleep.
"Our pain is huge."
State-run Anadolu Agency said the van veered off the road and overturned. It identified the four other injured players as Wanderson Baiano, Isaac Sackey, Welinton Souza and Djalma Campos.
Cavusoglu later said the injured players had "small fractures and cuts". He said Sural's wife rushed to the hospital where he informed her of the player's death. Sural had two young daughters.
Sural, a forward who debuted in 2013 for the Czech national team, joined Alanyaspor in January from Slavia Prague. He earned the last of his 20 caps for his country last October in a Nations League defeat to Ukraine.
The Turkish football federation said a minute's silence would be observed for Sural at the start of this week's league games.
Arsenal goalkeeper Petr Cech, a former Czech Republic international, was among the first to offer his condolences on Twitter.
"Sad news from this morning. Sincere condolences to the family and to all the loved ones. R.i.p," he wrote.