Seven miners have died and one was seriously injured after part of a coal mine in Turkey’s southeastern province of Sirnak — bordering Iraq and Syria — collapsed on Tuesday.
According to private Dogan news agency (in Turkish), eight miners were initially trapped, but rescue teams were able to bring seven of them up to surface. All of them however, died while hospitalized and searchers were trying to reach one other worker who was still trapped inside.
The mine collapse triggered sad memories, as in 2014 the country was shocked by the death of 301 miners who were killed in a fire inside a coal mine in Soma — Turkey’s worst mining disaster. Prior to it, a 1992 gas explosion that killed 263 workers near the Black Sea port of Zonguldak claimed the morbid title.
Before Soma, there had been 1,308 fatal accidents in the nation’s mines since 2000 and 3,000 since 1941, a bleak track record for a country where the mining sector is one of the biggest employers.
That tragedy reignited concerns over lax safety in a country with the highest rate of workplace fatalities in Europe, according to the International Labour Organisation (ILO).
Following the Soma accident, Turkey’s government introduced a new action plan to improve safety in the country’s mines.