Turkey: Rescuers extracted up to 40 bodies after an apparent methane blast ripped through a pit on Turkey’s Black Sea coast. Dozens of coal miners have still trapped hundreds of meters underground, and their bodies are being searched for signs of life. On the other hand, Turkish officials, including Energy Minister Fatih Dönmez, said preliminary findings indicated that the Friday blast inside the state-owned mine was caused by a firedamp explosion, which refers to the combustion of pockets of highly flammable gases trapped in the coal bed.
“We are in a truly regrettable situation,” Soylu said to reporters after rushing to the small coal mining town of Amasra. “A total of 110 of our brothers were working” (underground). Some of them escaped on their own, while others were rescued.”
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Turkey’s interior minister, Suleyman Soylu, said 14 workers were killed and at least 28 others were injured after being rescued from a coal mine in Amasra, a Black Sea coastal province. pic.twitter.com/HOr0Vqg919
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He also confirmed earlier reports that 49 miners were still trapped between 300 and 350 meters (985 to 1,150 feet) underground. Television images showed anxious crowds gathered around a damaged white building near the pit’s entrance, some with tears in their eyes, in search of news for their friends and loved ones.
On Saturday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was expected to fly to the accident site. The majority of the initial information about those trapped inside came from workers who had managed to escape relatively unscathed.
A prolonged fire inside a mine in the western Turkish town of Soma in 2014 caused the worst mining disaster in the country’s history, killing 301 miners and injuring at least 162 others.
That incident sparked widespread public outrage, with families and observers questioning what they claimed was inadequate government oversight and a lack of safety precautions at the facility.