Turkey: Mine Explosion Kills 41, Injures 11

An explosion in a coal mine in northern Turkey on Friday has killed at least 41 people and injured nearly a dozen more. Authorities announced on Saturday that they were ending their efforts to rescue any stranded workers that remained in the mine.

Turkey: Mine Explosion Kills 41, Injures 11
Image credit: AFP/Getty Images [via CNN]

Facts

  • An explosion in a coal mine in northern Turkey on Friday has killed at least 41 people and injured nearly a dozen more. Authorities announced on Saturday that they were ending their efforts to rescue any stranded workers that remained in the mine.
  • The blast occurred in a mine located in the Black Seas town of Amasra in Bartin province. According to Turkey's Minister of Energy and Natural Resources, Faith Donmez, a fire that broke out following the explosion had been largely brought under control as of Saturday. Rescuers reportedly worked through the night to rescue trapped miners.
  • At the time of the blast, approximately 110 people were working inside of the mine and nearly half of them were more than 984ft underground. The interior minister said that 58 people were either rescued or were able to escape independently of authorities - 10 of those people remain hospitalized, while a further one has been discharged.
  • On announcing that the last miner had been found, Turkish Pres. Recep Tayyip Erdogan stated: "our priority was to find the miners in the gallery. We finally reached the last one. He also died, bringing the number of deaths to 41."
  • Erdogan canceled a previously scheduled trip to Diyarbakir and traveled to Amasra to coordinate rescue operations following the incident. He has also assigned three prosecutors to investigate the tragedy, and has said, "our hope is that the loss of life does not increase further, that our miners are saved." The president continued: "All our efforts are geared in that direction."
  • Donmez, meanwhile, has said that preliminary assessments indicated the blast was ignited by firedamp, in reference to the sorts of flammable gasses commonly found in coal mines. Countries across the world offered their condolences to Turkey, and Greece offered rescue assistance despite recent diplomatic tensions between the two nations.

Sources: Washington Post, CNN, BBC News, Al Jazeera, FOX News, and NPR Online News.

Narratives

  • Establishment-critical narrative, as provided by The Guardian. Pres. Erdogan's arrival at the scene of this tragic incident only made matters worse. His implication that a mining disaster that ended innocent lives was an inevitability of working in such a risky industry is unfathomable, ruthless, and uncaring. Erdogan's appearance was purely tactical - an attempt to bolster his image as a politician overhauling Turkey's infrastructure ahead of next years' election in the face of a blistering opposition.
  • Pro-establishment narrative, as provided by Daily Sabah. The government of Turkey has taken this mining tragedy seriously and seeks to prevent any further risks to workers in the industry. An investigation has been launched and, in addition to his dedicated in-person appearance, Pres. Erdogan has extended his condolences to the families of those killed. An explanation for this tragedy will be found, and this administration will use all available means to make the necessary structural changes so there is no repeat of this disaster.