'They were all young:' Turkish village mourns sons after mine blast - GulfToday

'They were all young:' Turkish village mourns sons after mine blast


Rescuers carry a miner after an explosion at a coal mine in Bartin, Türkiye, on Friday. AFP

Gulf Today Report

Sitting on the stairs of his house overlooking the Black Sea, the father of a dead miner accepts condolences from relatives and neighbours.

His scarred Turkish village lost three of its young men in this Friday's mining disaster.

Three out of 41 miners killed in the coal mine explosion in the town of Amasra on Friday were from Ahatlar, a village on its outskirts, where funeral services were held on Sunday.

"My son is gone. I am falling apart, this is ruining me," said grieving Kemal Yildirim, father of Saban, who was in his early 20s when he died.

"Friends gave me the sad news. We hurried to the pit on Friday. He was one of the last remaining ones to be pulled out at 7 am the next day," he said.

The blast ripped through the mine near the small coal mining town of Amasra on Türkiye's Black Sea coast shortly before sunset on Friday.


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"We are approaching the end of the rescue operation," a tearful Energy Minister Fatih Donmez said at the scene on Saturday.

"The search continues for the sole person whose fate is unknown," he said, adding that the fire that had broken out in the tunnels following the blast was now mostly under control.

Updating the death toll, Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu said: "We have counted 40 dead in total. 58 miners were able to be rescued, either by themselves or thanks to rescuers."

Soylu had said earlier some 110 people had been underground at the time of the explosion.

Medics and security personnel wait outside the coal mine after an explosion in Amasra, Bartin, Türkiye. Reuters

Television images showed anxious crowds — some with tears in their eyes — congregating around a damaged white building near the entrance to the pit in search of news for their friends and loved ones.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said he would cancel all his other arrangements and fly to the scene of the accident on Saturday.

Four or five other miners were trapped in cave-ins, Durmaz added. The minister earlier said that preliminary assessments indicated that the explosion was likely caused by firedamp, which is a reference to flammable gases found in coal mines.

An ambulance arrives following a coal mine explosion in Bartin, Türkiye, on Friday. Reuters

Health Minister Fahrettin Koca tweeted that 28 miners were dead and 11 rescued miners were hospitalized in Bartin and Istanbul. Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu said 58 people had been rescued alive.

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

Türkiye's president was expected to visit Amasra on Saturday.

In Türkiye’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 Türkiye.

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