Eight more people were seriously injured in the explosion hundreds of meters underground.
An explosion at a coal mine in northern Turkey has killed at least 40 people, Turkish officials said, while rescuers tried to bring dozens more trapped to the surface.
Friday’s explosion occurred at the state-owned TTK Amasra Muses Mudurlugu mine in the city of Amasra in the Black Sea coastal province of Partin.
Interior Minister Suleiman Soylu, who traveled to Amasra to coordinate the rescue operation, said on Saturday that 40 miners had been confirmed dead.
11 people were injured and hospitalized, and 58 others either got out of the mine on their own or were rescued unharmed. The status of one remaining miner is unclear.
Energy Minister Fatih Donmez, who visited Amasra after the blast, indicated in a preliminary assessment that the explosion could have been caused by a fire pit – a reference to flammable gases found in coal mines.
Turkey’s disaster management agency AFAD said several rescue teams, including those from neighboring provinces, had been sent to the area.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said he would cancel all other arrangements and fly to the crash site on Saturday.
“It is our hope that the loss of life will not increase further and that our miners will be found alive,” Erdogan said in a tweet.
“All our efforts are aimed in this direction.”
The blast occurred 300 meters (985 feet) below the mine’s entrance at 15:15 GMT, Bard’s governor’s office said.
Television images showed hundreds of tearful people gathered around a damaged white building near the entrance to the pit.
Earlier, Turkey’s Maden-Is miners’ union blamed the explosion on methane gas, but other officials said it was premature to draw conclusions about the cause of the accident.
In Turkey’s worst mining disaster, a 2014 coal mine fire in the western Turkish city of Soma killed a total of 301 people.
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