ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — An explosion inside a coal mine in northern Turkey on Friday left 14 people dead, at least 28 injured and nearly 50 trapped underground, Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu said.
The explosion 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 traveled 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 neighboring provinces, Turkey’s disaster management agency, AFAD, said. Media reports said President Recep Tayyip Erdogan canceled a planned visit to southeast Turkey and would travel to Amasra instead.
The private DHA news agency quoted one worker as telling Gov. Arslan that he came out of the mine by his own means. He described feeling a “pressure” but said he could not see anything due to the dust and dirt.
People rushed to the mine for news of trapped friends or colleagues, DHA reported.
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, in western Turkey.