28 found dead after Turkish mine blast
Istanbul, May 20, 2010
Turkish rescue teams found 28 dead in a coal mine in the northern Black Sea province of Zonguldak on Thursday, Energy Minister Taner Yildiz said, three days after an underground explosion caused the mine to collapse.
Some 40 miners were reported to have been working in two separate areas of the pit at a depth of about 540 metres when the explosion occurred on Monday.
Eight workers were initially reported injured. Two more workers were still underground, but Yildiz said there was little chance they were alive. Approximately 400 people were taking part in the rescue effort.
"We've reached the bodies of 19 workers in the area of the water reservoir and another nine in the second region we mentioned ... may they rest in peace. Efforts are continuing to find the remaining two," he said.
An investigation has been launched into a rash of mining accidents in recent months that have killed more than 60 people.
Yildiz said initial indications showed the miners died from carbon monoxide poisoning.
Rescue efforts since Monday were hampered when a passageway dug by rescuers collapsed, forcing teams to approach the site of the explosion from another location more than 2,000 metres away.
High levels of methane gas in the mine heightened the chance of another explosion, further delaying rescue efforts. - Reuters