At least 14 dead, dozens trapped in mine explosion in Turkey

At least 14 dead, dozens trapped in mine explosion in Turkey


Rescuers pulled out 14 bodies on Friday, searching for signs of life among dozens of miners still trapped hundreds of meters underground after an apparent methane blast punctured a mine on Turkey’s Black Sea coast.

Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu said 28 people who either crawled out on their own or were rescued by rescuers suffered various injuries in one of the deadliest industrial accidents in Turkey in years.

“We are facing a really unfortunate situation,” Soylu told reporters after flying urgently to the small coal-mining town of Amasra.

“In total, 110 of our brothers worked (underground). Some of them came out on their own, and some of them were rescued.”

He also confirmed early reports that 49 miners were still trapped in two separate areas between 300 and 350 meters (985 to 1,150 ft) underground.

Television images showed worried crowds – some in tears – gathered around a damaged white building near the entrance to the pit to hear news for their friends and loved ones.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was scheduled to fly to the scene of the accident on Saturday.

Most of the first information about those trapped came from workers who managed to climb out relatively unharmed.

Amasra Mayor Recai Cakir said many of the survivors suffered “serious injuries”.

The blast happened just before sunset and rescue efforts were hampered by darkness.

Turkey’s Maden Is miners’ union attributed the blast to a build-up of methane gas.

However, other officials said it was premature to draw any firm conclusions about the cause of the accident.

– Catastrophe 2014 –

Rescuers sent reinforcements from nearby villages to help look for signs of life.

Television footage showed paramedics administering oxygen to the miners who had exited and then taking them to the nearest hospitals.

The local governor said a team of more than 70 rescuers managed to reach a point in the pit about 250 meters below.

It was initially not clear whether the rescuers would get closer to the trapped workers or what was blocking their further passage.

Turkey’s Civil Protection Service AFAD said the initial spark that caused the blast appears to have come from a malfunctioning transformer.

It later withdrew the report, saying the methane gas ignited for “unknown reasons”.

Local prosecutors said they treated the incident as an accident and launched a formal investigation.

Turkey suffered its deadliest coal mining disaster when 301 workers died in a 2014 explosion in the western Turkish city of Soma.

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