At least 28 people have been killed and dozens remain trapped after a massive blast punctured a coal mine in Turkey.
Around 110 workers were in the mine at the time of the explosion – almost half of them at a depth of more than 300 meters.
Rescue workers were still frantically searching for signs of life Saturday morning after pulling out at least 28 bodies from under hundreds of yards of rock.
Turkey’s health minister said eight people were hospitalized in critical condition after they were pulled out alive.
Footage showed black miners emerging from the pit in the small coal-mining town of Amasra on Turkey’s Black Sea coast, eyes bleary-eyed.
“We are facing a really regrettable situation,” Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu told reporters after flying to the scene.
“A total of 110 of our brothers were working (underground).
“Some of them got out on their own, others were rescued.”
Soyli confirmed nearly 50 miners were trapped in two separate areas between 300 and 350 meters underground.
Energy Minister Fatih Donmez said early evidence suggests the blast was caused by firedamp – a term referring to methane in coal mines.
Pictures showed fearful crowds – some in tears – gathered around a damaged white building near the entrance to the pit to hear news from their friends and loved ones.
Paramedics were seen administering oxygen to miners who were getting out before taking them to the nearest hospitals.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said he canceled his arrangements and will fly to the scene of the accident on Saturday.
“Our hope is that the loss of life will not increase further, that our miners will be found alive,” Erdogan said.
“All our efforts are aimed in this direction.”
Amasra Mayor Recai Cakir said many of the survivors suffered “serious injuries”.
The blast happened just before sunset and rescue efforts were hampered by darkness.
Turkey’s Maden Is miners’ union also blamed a build-up of methane gas for the explosion.
The area’s local governor said a team of more than 70 rescuers managed to reach a point in the pit about 250 meters below Friday night.
It wasn’t immediately clear if rescuers would get any closer to the trapped workers.
Local prosecutors said they treated the incident as an accident and launched a formal investigation.
Turkey suffered its deadliest coal mining disaster in 2014 when 301 workers died in an explosion in the western city of Soma.
https://www.the-sun.com/news/6448322/at-least-25-killed-trapped-blast-coal-mine-turkey/ At least 28 dead and dozens trapped underground after a massive explosion ripped through a coal mine in Turkey