Home / International / Turkey mine blast death toll rises to 41

Turkey mine blast death toll rises to 41

The death toll from a methane blast in a coal mine in northwest Turkey rose to 41, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said, after the last missing miner was found dead, reports AFP.

“Our priority was to find the miners in the gallery. We finally reached the last one. He also died, bringing the number of deaths to 41,” Erdogan said, ending rescue operations more than 20 hours after the deadly explosion on Friday evening.

Most initial information about those trapped inside was coming from workers who had managed to climb out relatively unharmed.

But Amasra mayor Recai Cakir said many of those who survived suffered “serious injuries”.

The blast occurred moments before sunset and the rescue effort was impeded by the dark.

Turkey’s Maden Is mining workers’ union attributed the blast to a build-up of methane gas.

But other officials said it was premature to draw definitive conclusions over the cause of the accident.

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

Television images showed paramedics giving oxygen to the miners who had climbed out, then rushing them to the nearest hospitals.

The local governor said a team of more than 70 rescuers had managed to reach a point in the pit some 250 metres below.

It was not immediately clear if the rescuers would be able to come any closer to the trapped workers or what was blocking their further passage.

Relatives and friends of mine blast victim Selcuk Ayvaz pray during his funeral ceremony in the village of Ugurlar near Amasra, in the northern Bartin province, Turkey October 15, 2022. REUTERS

Relatives and friends of mine blast victim Selcuk Ayvaz pray during his funeral ceremony in the village of Ugurlar near Amasra, in the northern Bartin province, Turkey October 15, 2022. REUTERS

Turkey’s AFAD disaster management service said the initial spark that caused the blast appeared to have come from a malfunctioning transformer.

It later withdrew that report and said methane gas had ignited for “unknown reasons”.

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