A somber coal miner waits in anxious as his friends were trapped after an explosion
in a Zonguldak mine. At least eight workers were killed in the blast. AA photo
Eight mine workers were killed yesterday due to a gas leak at a coal mine in the Black Sea
province of Zonguldak, Turkey’s coal capital.
Burhan İnan, general manger of the state-owned Turkish Hard Coal Enterprise (TTK) that runs the coal mine in Kozlu district, told reporters that the eight were killed in a blast caused by a methane leak.
Mahmut Özçelik, TTK’s deputy general manager, identified the miners killed in the blast as Hüseyin Kürekçi, Hasan Bozacı, Muharrem Yapıcı, Yüksel Koca, Ahmet Şekerci, Köksal Kadıoğlu, Muhsin Akyüz and Satılmış Arslan. Another worker, Hayrettin Dağkıran, was rescued alive, Özçelik added.
The blast came amid efforts by the TKK to increase safety in coal mines. Work safety has been a high-level priority for years following past firedamp explosions and industrial accidents, İnan told Anatolia news agency late last month.
“Sometimes our workers get lost underground and we can’t find them. So we decided to track them with chips in order to locate and reach them easily in the event of these kinds of incidents,” he said.
Around 2,000 workers are currently being tracked with imported LED chips and the TTK is planning to extend this coverage to all 8,800 employees working underground at the Zonguldak mining coal catchment area, the general manager said.
The chips are able to detect the location of workers and how far below the surface they are.
Mines, drifts and mine faces – where coal is brought to the surface – are being monitored for coal gas danger as well, according to İnan.
A total of 2,554 miners were killed and more than 13,000 lost the ability to work between 1991 and 2008. Turkey has the worst safety record in terms of mining accidents and explosions in Europe
and the third worst in the world, according to reports.
In Turkey’s worst mine disaster, a gas explosion killed 270 workers near Zonguldak in 1992.