At least 40 dead in an explosion at a coal mine in Turkey | International
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At least 40 people have died after an explosion last night at a coal mine in Amasra, in the province of Bartin, in northern Turkey. Some 110 miners were in the area at the time of the explosion, almost half of them more than 300 meters deep, according to local authorities. Dozens of those who were trapped have been rescued or managed to get out by their own means, while work continues in the shaft in search of miners who may still be trapped, as at least one is known whose whereabouts are unknown, and to cool the tunnels .
“We have reached 40 martyrs. Despite the fire, the rescue teams managed with great sacrifice to get another 40 miners out,” confirmed the head of the Interior, Süleyman Soylu, at a press conference along with two other ministers who traveled to the scene of the incident. The minister explained that one person is still missing. “Eleven injured are still admitted, of which one is serious and four in intensive care,” said the head of Health, Fahrettin Koca.
The collapse of the mine occurred yesterday afternoon due to a firedamp explosion, according to the Turkish energy minister, Fatih Dönmez. “There are several partial landslides,” Dönmez explained. The explosion caused a fire inside the mine, which lasted for hours. “We do not know anything. There was dust and smoke, we couldn’t see what happened. I got out on my own. Those of us who were a little far away only felt the pressure of the explosion, but we couldn’t see anything,” a miner who managed to get out of the shaft before the rescue teams arrived told NTV.
The explosion occurred about 300 meters underground, a depth below which were about fifty miners. Dozens of troops from AFAD and other civil protection bodies were moved to the well to participate in the difficult rescue tasks. “Inside the situation is terrible, we can only get to a certain place. We have rescued some companions and we have brought them,” said a rescuer quoted by the local press.
Outside, dozens of family members and colleagues gathered at the entrance to the mine in an anguished wait that lasted all night. “12 hours have passed, but it seems like 12 years have passed. I cannot bear to step on this ground, because under the ground that I step on there are lives buried and I cannot do anything for them,” said a colleague of a miner quoted by the digital newspaper Gazette Duvar. “Three grandchildren, three of my grandchildren are inside! Rescue my creatures!” exclaimed between tears an old woman interviewed by the chain Haberturk. At his side, and in a state of shock, another woman asked for news of her husband: “I have left my three children at home, help us! We don’t know anything, they don’t tell us anything. We’re going to die!”.
Turkey regularly suffers serious accidents in coal mines, which unions blame on poor safety measures in a sector where companies routinely flout regulations. Since 2010, more than a thousand people have died in mining accidents. The biggest disaster occurred in May 2014 at a pit in Soma, in the western province of Manisa, when 301 miners died in a fire caused by an electrical explosion. In this case there are also allegations of malpractice by the company that directs the operation, the public body TTK. The opposition deputy, Deniz Yavuzyilmaz, published on Twitter the report page of the Court of Auditors in which he warned that the wells of the Amasra mine had reached 300 meters, a depth at which seepage of oil becomes more common. firedamp, for which he demanded the management “extreme care” and take the appropriate measures to avoid accidents.
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The Turkish authorities have assured that this report has been taken out of context and that four inspectors have been sent under the orders of the Prosecutor’s Office to investigate the reasons for the accident. The General Directorate of Security has also announced that investigations have been launched against 12 social network users who, in connection with the accident, had published content that the Government considers to disturb social peace. The Communications Directorate of the Turkish Presidency has requested that only information from official bodies be shared.
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