At least 18 Turkish miners trapped in coal mine after collapse
At least 18 workers were trapped underground after a coal mine collapsed in the Turkish town of Ermenek, about 110 km north of the country's Mediterranean coastline.
Initial media reports said the failure occurred after water that had built up inside the mine coursed into areas where the workers had been located.
According to local TV station NTV, the miners remain stuck more than 300 metres below the surface and rescue crews had made no contact with them.
Sahin Uyar, an official at the privately owned coal mine, told NTV the trapped workers' chances of survival were slim unless they had managed to reach a safety gallery. He added they only have enough oxygen to survive 2 to 3 hours, and they have been trapped since noon.
Turkey is no stranger to mining tragedies. In May, a fire inside a coal mine in Soma, western Turkey, killed 301 people, becoming the country’s worst mining disaster.
The Soma catastrophe also became the worst in a series of incidents in the coal sector, which has seen 30,000 die since 1970 as a consequence of poor safety conditions.
Hundreds of residents of the town of Soma marched towards Ankara in solidarity with the trapped miners, Hurriyet Daily News reports.
Today’s accident has allowed miners from disaster-struck Soma to attract media attention to the fact they have not been paid their wages since May.
CHRONOLOGY OF THE LAST 30 YEARS IN TURKEY’S MINES:
7 March 1983: 103 deaths in Armutçuk with methane explosion.
10 April 1983: 10 deaths in Kozlu with methane explosion.
31 January 1987: 8 deaths in Kozlu with dent.
31 January 1990: 5 deaths in Amasra with methane explosion.
7 February 1990: 68 killings in Yeni Çeltik with methane explosion.
3 March 1992: 263 deaths in Kozlu with methane explosion.
26 March 1995: 37 killings in Sorgun with methane explosion.
22 November 2003: 10 killings in Ermenek with methane explosion.
8 September 2004: 19 deaths in Küre with fire.
2 June 2006: 17 deaths in Dursunbey with methane explosion.
10 December 2009: 19 deaths in Mustafakemalpaşa with methane explosion.
17 May 2010: 30 deaths in Zonguldak with methane explosion.
8 January 2013: 8 deaths in Kozlu with methane explosion.
13 May 2014: 301 deaths after a fire broke out, following an explosion in a power distribution unit.