IHA via AP
AMASRA, Turkey (AP) — The death toll in a coal mine explosion in northern Turkey has risen to at least 28 people and rescue efforts continued as a fire burned in the mine, officials said on Saturday.
There were 110 miners working in the pit when the blast happened on Friday night 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 Durmaz said rescue efforts were continuing for 15 people, the majority of them in the mine gallery where a fire was still burning.
“It’s not a huge fire, but to get there safely, the fire and the carbon monoxide need to be cleared up,” he told reporters on the site.
Four or five other miners were trapped in cave-ins, Durmaz added. The minister said earlier that preliminary assessments indicated the explosion was likely caused by firedamp, which refers to flammable gases found in coal mines.
Health Minister Fahrettin Koca tweeted that 28 miners had died and 11 rescued miners were hospitalized in Bartin and Istanbul. Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu said 58 people were rescued alive.
Ambulances were on standby at the site. Rescue teams have been dispatched to the area, including from neighboring provinces, Turkey’s disaster management agency AFAD said.
The Turkish president was due to visit Amasra on Saturday.
In Turkey’s worst mining disaster, a total of 301 people died in 2014 in a fire inside a coal mine in the western Turkish town of Soma.