Death toll rises to 28 in Turkey coal mine blast; dozens still trapped underground

Nearly 50 miners remain caught in two separate areas between 300 and 350 meters below the ground; Erdogan to visit scene of accident

By Dmitry Zaks

The body of a dead miner is carried by rescuers after an explosion at a coal mine in Bartin, northern Turkey, on October 14 2022. (Nilay MEYREM COMLEK / IHLAS NEWS AGENCY / AFP)

ISTANBUL (AFP) — Rescuers desperately searched for signs of life on Saturday after a methane blast at a coal mine in northern Turkey killed at least 28 people and trapped dozens of others hundreds of meters underground.

Updating the death toll, Health Minister Fahrettin Koca also tweeted that 11 others pulled out alive were being treated in hospital after one of Turkey’s deadliest industrial accidents in years struck Friday at sunset.

“We are facing a truly regretful situation,” Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu told reporters earlier after urgently flying to the small coal mining town of Amasra on Turkey’s Black Sea coast.

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

Soylu also confirmed early reports that nearly 50 miners remained trapped in two separate areas between 300 and 350 meters (985 to 1,150 feet) below ground.

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Television images showed anxious crowds — some with tears in their eyes — congregating around a damaged white building near the entrance to the pit in search of news for their friends and loved ones.

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