Explosion at coal mine in northern Turkey kills 41 people
An explosion at a coal mine in northern Turkey killed 41 people and injured others. The Associated Press reported that the explosion took place at the the state-owned Turkish Hard Coal Enterprise’s (TTK) mine in the town of Amasra, in the Black Sea coastal province of Bartin on Oct. 14.
Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan arrived at the scene vowed to bring an end to mining disasters, while saying he believes in “fate.”
“We don’t want to see deficiencies or unnecessary risks,” Erdogan said, and added that an investigation would reveal if anyone is responsible for the blast. He then joined funeral prayers for Rahman Ozcelik, 22, at a village where Turkish media said three other miners were also being mourned.
Eleven were injured and hospitalized, with five in serious condition, while 58 others managed to get out of the mine on their own or were rescued unharmed.
Energy Minister Fatih Donmez said rescue efforts were complete. Earlier, he had said that a fire was burning in an area where more than a dozen miners had been trapped.
Preliminary assessments indicated that the explosion was likely caused by firedamp, which is a reference to flammable gases found in coal mines, Donmez said overnight. Three prosecutors were investigating the blast.
Ambulances were on standby at the site. Rescue teams were dispatched to the area, including from neighboring provinces, Turkey’s disaster management agency, AFAD, said. Dark smoke rose from the entrance of the mine, which is surrounded by forests.
A mining technician from TTK told broadcaster NTV that his team of rescue and occupational safety personnel arrived at the site Friday night. Ismail Cetin said they went down into the mine and walked about 2.5 km (1.5 miles) with their kit and stretchers. They recovered nine bodies, whom he called “mine martyrs.”
Separately, Turkish police said in a statement that legal action would be taken against 12 people who allegedly shared provocative content about the mine explosion to incite hate on social media.
Turkey’s worst mine disaster was in 2014, when 301 miners died after a fire erupted inside a coal mine in the town of Soma, in the west of the country. Five months later, 18 miners were killed in central Karaman province after a flood in a coal mine.
Photo: Turkey President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, credit Shutterstock