Turkey working to reach 30 trapped after mine blast
(Reuters) – Thirty people remained trapped in a Turkish coal mine in the northern Black Sea province of Zonguldak on Tuesday, nearly 24 hours after an underground explosion injured at least eight.
Rescue efforts were hampered after a passage dug by rescuers collapsed and members of the 400-strong team were forced to approach the trapped miners through a different route, more than 2,000 meters away from the site of the explosion.
“We are trying to work as fast as possible to reach (the miners). But of course as time passes, our hopes decrease. We are doing what we can,” Labour and Social Security Minister Omer Dincer was quoted by state-run news agency Anatolian as saying.
Some 40 miners were reported to have been working in two separate areas at a depth of about 540 meters when the explosion occurred at 13:30 local time (10:30 GMT) on Monday. No-one has communicated with the miners since.
Turkish broadcaster NTV said there were still high levels of methane in the mine air which raised the chances of another explosion and complicated rescue efforts.
The Black Sea region is Turkey’s largest coal producer, with output primarily focused on sized coal for domestic heating needs.