By Humeyra Pamuk
Nineteen miners were trapped on Tuesday after a coal mine in southern Turkey collapsed following a flood inside the mine, local media reported.
Rescue teams and medics were sent to the mine in the town of Ermenek in Karaman province, about 110 km north of Turkey’s Mediterranean coastline.
Media reports said the collapse occurred after water that had built up inside the mine coursed into areas where the workers had been located.
“The water accumulated underground has flooded into the gallery. According to initial reports 25 workers have been saved while 19 workers remain trapped,” Karaman Governor Murat Koca was quoted as saying by Turkey’s Dogan News Agency (DHA).
The flood occurred shortly after midday about 300 meters below ground, DHA said.
Energy Minister Taner Yildiz and Transport Minister Lutfi Elvan were heading for the mine, local media reported.
Turkey is no stranger to mining disasters and the country has one of the world’s worst industrial accident records. Its worst ever mining disaster took place less than six months ago in the western town of Soma, where 301 workers were killed.