Ankara, Oct 14 (EFE).- Twenty-two miners died and 17 others were injured Friday in an explosion at a coal mine in the northern town of Amasra, Turkish Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said.
Eight of those injured in the blast, which took place around 6:15 pm, are in intensive care, he said on Twitter, while Amasra Mayor Recai Cakir suggested that as many as 30 people may still be trapped inside the mine.
Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu said that 110 miners were working at the time of the explosion, 49 of them in the affected portion of the shaft.
The explosion occurred at a depth of 300 m (984 ft), according to a statement from the office of Nurtac Arslan, governor of the Black Sea coastal province of Bartin.
“We don’t know anything. There was dust and smoke, we couldn’t seen what happened. I got out under my own power,” one miner told NTV television. “Those of us who were somewhat far away felt the pressure of the explosion, but we couldn’t see anything.”
Turkey’s energy minister, Fatih Donmez, told reporters at the scene of the disaster that the blast was apparently the result of an accumulation of flammable gas.
Evrensel newspaper reported that an administrative-law court sounded the alarm in 2019 about the dangers of gas at the Amasra mine.
Unions blame the all-too-frequent accidents at Turkey’s coal mines on the lax safety measures that prevail in the largely unregulated industry.
An electrical explosion in May 2014 at a mine in the western province of Manisa claimed the lives of 301 miners. EFE iut-DT/dr