Oct. 15 (UPI) — The death toll from a blast at a coal mine in northern Turkey reached 41 on Saturday, nearly 24 hours after an explosion ripped through the facility in Bartin province.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan told reporters the updated death toll was issued after all 58 miners who were previously trapped underground had been reached and extricated by search and rescue teams.
A total of 11 miners remained hospitalized after the blast, which struck the Turkish Hard Coal Institution mine around 6.15 p.m. local time in the Amasra district, located on the Black Sea coast about 185 miles north of Ankara.
Erdogan was in Amasra to inspect the blast site and attend the funeral of Rahman Özçelik, a miner from the village of Makaracı who lost his life in the explosion, the president’s office said.
He expressed his condolences to the families and the nation and wished a speedy recovery to the workers who survived the blast, who were evacuated to hospitals in various provinces by ambulance, helicopter and air ambulances.
Erdogan also promised a speedy investigation.
“Of course, how this explosion happened, who is responsible, if any, it will emerge with the administrative and judicial investigation to be carried out,” he said.
Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu is heading the investigation into the blast.
Energy and Natural Resources Minister Fatih Donmez said earlier Saturday that a fire that broke out in a gallery after the blast is largely under control.