Turkish coal mine flood traps 18 workers underground

28 October 2014 (Last Updated October 28th, 2014 18:30)

Around 18 mine workers are trapped underground due to accidental flooding in a coal mine in southern Turkey.

Around 18 mine workers are trapped underground due to accidental flooding in a coal mine in southern Turkey.

The incident occurred near the town of Ermenek in the Karaman province, about 300 miles south of the Ankara capital, near the Mediterranean coast.

Citing the NTV news channel, Reuters reported that the flood occurred at around 3pm local time when miners were working about 350m underground. A broken pipe inside the mine is believed to be the cause.

"The chances of survival for the trapped workers are slim unless they reach the safety gallery." 

According to officials, around 20 workers have been rescued from the mine so far.

Turkey Energy Minister Taner Yildiz was quoted by the news agency saying: "Water is rising 1m every two hours...time is working against us."

According to Turkish media, the surge has spread beyond the area where the miners are trapped. Rescue workers are trying to pump out the water but a large volume has reached the mine shaft.

An official at the privately owned coal mine Sahin Uyar told NTV television that the chances of survival for the trapped workers are slim unless they reach the safety gallery.

In May this year, Turkey witnessed its deadliest disaster when a fire inside a coal mine killed 301 people.