Coal mine explosion in northern Turkey traps 49 people

A coal mine explosion believed to be caused by a transformer in Turkey’s northern Bartin province left 49 workers trapped on Friday, Governor Nurtac Arslan was quoted as saying.

“Right now, there are 44 people 300 (meters below the entrance of the mine) and five people 350 (meters below),” Arslan was quoted as saying by state-owned Anadolu Agency.

Eight people were able to leave the mine by their own means, Arslan said.

The explosion was caused by a transformer in the coal mine, which is owned by the state’s Turkish Hard Coal Enterprises, Turkey’s Disaster Management Authority (AFAD) said.

The explosion occurred 300 metres below the entrance of the mine at around 1515 GMT, the Bartin Governor’s office said.

Turkish TV footage showed people being carried to ambulances, with emergency personnel crowding the area.

Energy Minister Fatih Donmez and Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu were headed to the scene, Anadolu said.

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