Story By: Ana Marjanovic, Sub-Editor: Michael Leidig, Agency: Newsflash
The young man who dressed as the Grim Reaper set himself ablaze at a packed Turkish tourist spot has died of his injuries in hospital.
Onlookers gasped in shock as the man – complete with a scythe – poured a flammable liquid over his body and set himself ablaze near the Galata Tower in Beyoglu in Istanbul, one of Turkey’s most popular tourist attractions. The gruesome spectacle happened on 31st May.
Grim footage of the human inferno shows the man – named as 28-year-old Abdullah Cihat Turan Pekpak – on fire as he staggers over cobblestones in front of restaurant tables.
As the flames grow stronger, he raises his arms to the sky and drops to his knees in apparent agony.
It only ends when two men from a nearby restaurant rush out and douse the flames with fire extinguishers.
Another film shows the man screaming after the flames have been put out as charred skin and clothing hang from his burned arms.
A third clip shows Abdullah leaning back on rubbish bags while people tuck into their meals on a restaurant terrace just metres away.
The Istanbul Governorship said in a statement on 31st May: “Today, at around 18.30, a person named A.C.T.P., registered to the population of Meram County in Konya, attempted to set himself on fire with a flammable substance he poured on himself near the Galata Tower in our Beyoglu district.
“With the intervention of citizens in the area, the flames were extinguished and our 112 Emergency Health teams transferred him to hospital.”
The police also seized the man’s tablet and personal belongings looking for clues as to why he set himself on fire.
Turkish reports today (2nd June) state that Abdullah succumbed to his burns injuries at the Bagcilar Training and Research Hospital.
Meanwhile, the police said in an update that they found a bus ticket from the city of Konya among Abdullah’s belongings.
Local media also said that he suffered with mental health issues and called his family before the incident to inform them “I will burn myself”.
The police investigation is ongoing.