An explosion in a coal mine in Turkey’s northern Bartin province on Friday killed 40 people, the country’s authorities reported, but it was not clear how many people were still trapped due to the blast that occurred as 110 people were working.
Seventeen others were receiving treatment, Health Minister Fahrettin Koca wrote in a statement on Twitter. Earlier, Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu said that at the time of the blast, 49 people had been working 300 metres and 350 metres (985 to 1,148 feet) underground, describing it as a risky zone.
#BREAKING Death toll in #Turkey coal mine blast rises to 40, according to its Interior Minister pic.twitter.com/QQI0uOLYTE
— Guy Elster (@guyelster) October 15, 2022
Energy Minister Fatih Dönmez said that the initial indications were that the blast was caused by firedamp, a term referring to methane in coal mines.
There are no ongoing fires inside the mine and the ventilation inside was working properly, Mr Dönmez said, adding that there were partial collapses inside the mine.
The explosion occurred 300 metres (985 feet) below the entrance of the mine at around 1515 GMT, the Bartin governor’s office reported. The mine belongs to the state-owned Turkish Hard Coal Enterprises.
Footage on Turkish television showed what it said were the families of the miners watching from the sidelines as health and rescue workers huddled around the entrance to the mine. Some miners were taken out and carried off to ambulances on stretchers.
About 50 miners were trapped under the rubble after an explosion in a coal mine in Turkey pic.twitter.com/Jew1p49U9d
— ACROSS THE LINE (@ErajChangizian) October 14, 2022
The Bartin prosecutor’s office said it had launched an investigation into the cause of the explosion.
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said he would go to Bartin on Saturday. “Our hope is that the loss of life will not increase further, that our miners will be saved safely and all our efforts are in this direction,” he wrote on Twitter.
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