Second mine blast in three days kills one, injures five

Second mine blast in three days kills one, injures five

ISTANBUL - Radikal
A methane blast at a coal mine in Zonguldak late Jan. 10 killed a mine worker and injured five others, just days after a similarly deadly blast at a mine that had been repeatedly cited for negligence.

The accident at the mine run by a private company, in the Black Sea province’s Dağbaca area, occurred when gas was leaked into one of the shafts as workers were beginning to extract coal. Three mine workers who went to their colleagues’ rescue after the explosion suffered methane-poisoning.

The miner killed in the blast was identified as 34-year-old Sedat Hamarat, a father of two.

Back to back blasts

The incident was the second fatal accident in just three days in Turkey’s coal capital. On Jan. 8, a similar gas leak at a coal mine run by the state-owned Turkish Hard Coal Enterprise (TTK) killed eight mine workers. As part of the ongoing investigation into allegations of neglect, six managers of the mine were arrested then released pending trial on charges of involuntary manslaughter.

In a bid to increase safety in the coal mines, TTK announced as a first step that workers suffering from financial problems would not be permitted into mines. Burhan İnan, general manager of TTK, published a circular Jan. 9, prohibiting mine access to workers whose property has been seized for more than a year, claiming that such people are less productive and constitute a safety risk.

“Workers in a levy situation are potentially subject to concentration problems because their attention is focused on matters not related to their work, thereby presenting a risk to their colleagues’ security and health while also negatively influencing productivity,” the circular said.

Labor and Social Security Minister Faruk Çelik said authorities had performed intensive investigations, adding that 48 coal mines were ordered shut last year due to shortcomings and that 18 facilities were still closed.