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At least 25 killed, dozens trapped in Turkey mine blast

At least 25 killed, dozens trapped in Turkey mine blast

At least 25 killed, dozens trapped in Turkey mine blast

Rescue workers were desperately searching for signs of life after a methane explosion in a coal mine in northern Turkey killed at least 25 people and trapped dozens more hundreds of meters underground on Saturday.

In an update on the death toll, Health Minister Farahtin Koca also tweeted that 11 others had been pulled out alive and are being treated in hospital as one of Turkey’s deadliest industrial accidents in years sunk into the air on Friday.

“We are facing a really sad situation,” Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu told reporters after an emergency flight to Amara, a small coal-mining town on Turkey’s Black Sea coast.

At least 25 killed, dozens trapped in Turkey mine blast

“In total, 110 of our brothers were working (underground). Some of them got out on their own, and some of them were rescued.”

Soyli also confirmed initial reports that about 50 miners were trapped between 300 and 350 meters (985 to 1,150 ft) below ground in two separate areas.

Television images showed anxious crowds – some with tears in their eyes – gathered around a ruined white building near the entrance to the crater, searching for news of their friends and loved ones.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said he would cancel all arrangements and visit the crash site on Saturday.

“We hope that the loss of life will not increase further, that our miners will be found alive,” Erdogan said in a tweet.

“All our efforts are aimed in that direction.”

Most of the initial information about people trapped inside came from workers who managed to get out relatively unscathed.

But Amasara mayor Risai Kikar said many of the survivors had suffered “severe injuries”.

The blast took place moments before sunset and rescue operations were hampered by darkness.

Turkey’s Maden Is mining workers’ union blamed the explosion on methane gas build-up.

But other officials said it was too early to draw final conclusions about the cause of the crash.

Rescuers sent reinforcements from nearby villages to help search for signs of life.

Television images showed paramedics giving oxygen to miners who had climbed out and then taking them to nearby hospitals.

A team of more than 70 rescue workers has managed to reach a point about 250 meters down into the crater, the local governor said.

It was not immediately clear whether rescuers would be able to approach the trapped workers or what was blocking their further passage.

Turkey’s AFAD disaster management service said the initial spark that caused the explosion came from a faulty transformer.

It later retracted the report and said the methane gas had ignited for “unknown reasons”.

The local public prosecutor’s office said it is treating the incident as an accident and opening a formal investigation.

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News Line
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