Death toll rises to 28 in Turkey coal mine explosion

The death toll from a coal mine explosion in northern Turkey has risen to at least 28 people, the health minister said Saturday, as rescue efforts continued overnight.

There were 110 miners working in the shaft when the explosion occurred Friday evening at the state-owned TTK Amasra Muessese Mudurlugu mine in the town of Amasra, in the Black Sea coastal province of Bartin.

Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu said 58 miners had been rescued alive and efforts for 15 miners continued. Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said 11 of the rescued were hospitalized in Bartin and Istanbul.

An early assessment indicated that the explosion was likely caused by firedamp, which is a reference to flammable gases found in coal mines, according to Energy Minister Fatih Durmaz.

Ambulances were on standby at the site. Rescue teams were dispatched to the area, including from neighboring provinces, Turkey’s disaster management agency, AFAD, said.

Turkey’s president was expected to visit Amasra on Saturday.

In Turkey’s worst mine disaster, a total of 301 people died in 2014 in a fire inside a coal mine in the town of Soma, in western Turkey.

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