Many dead in Turkish mine accident
Tragedy blamed on methane-gas explosion inside coal mine in the country's northwest.
Last Modified: 24 Feb 2010 12:42 GMT

Four survivors are in a critical condition [AFP]

Thirteen workers have been killed after a methane-gas explosion caused an underground chamber in a coal mine in northwestern Turkey to collapse.

Tuesday's blast, near the town of Dursunbey in Balikesir province, buried the miners 820ft below the surface, Erhan Ortakoylu, the mine's owner, said.

Omer Dincer, the country's labour minister, said that an initial death toll of 17 was inaccurate, clarifying that 13 workers were killed and 18 hospitalised.

Rescue work was called off after 29 workers were evacuated from the mine.

Four survivors were in critical condition, Dincer told journalists after visiting the hospital where the miners were treated.

Seventeen workers were killed in the same mine in a similar blast in June 2006, the Anatolia said. The mine is 20km from the centre of Dursunbey.

In December, a similar accident killed 19 miners in Bursa.

Safety violations and outdated equipment have been factors in past mine accidents in the country.

Associated Press
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