Mine explosion in northern Turkey kills 14, traps nearly 50

An explosion inside a coal mine in northern Turkey has killed 14 people, injured at least 28 and trapped nearly 50 underground, Minister of the Interior Suleyman Soylu said.

The explosion on Friday occurred at the state-owned TTK Amasra Muessese Mudurlugu mine in the town of Amasra, in the Black Sea coastal province of Bartin.

Energy minister Fatih Donmez said the explosion is likely to have been caused by firedamp, a reference to flammable gases found in coal mines.

There were 110 people inside the mine at the time of the explosion, Soylu, who travelled to Amasra to coordinate the rescue operation told reporters.

Most of the workers were able to vacate the mine following the blast but 49 were trapped in a “high-risk” area of the facility, the minister said.

Several rescue teams were dispatched to the area, including from neighbouring provinces, Turkey’s disaster management agency, AFAD, said. Media reports said President Recep Tayyip Erdogan cancelled a planned visit to southeast Turkey and would travel to Amasra instead.

The explosion occurred 300 metres (985 feet) below the entrance of the mine at around 15:15 GMT, the Bartin governor’s office said.

State-owned Anadolu Agency quoted Bartin Governor Nurtac Arslan as saying 44 people were trapped 300 metres (984 feet) below the entrance of the mine, and five more were trapped 350 metres (1,150 feet) below the entrance.

Television images showed hundreds of people, some with tears in their eyes, congregating around a damaged white building near the entrance to the pit.

Earlier, Turkey’s Maden-Is mining workers’ union attributed the blast to a build-up of methane gas, but other officials said it was premature to draw conclusions about the cause of the accident.

In Turkey’s worst mine disaster, a total of 301 people died in 2014 in a fire inside a coal mine in the town of Soma, western Turkey.

Article source: https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2022/10/14/dozens-trapped-after-turkey-mine-blast-governor