Eight miners have been killed in a coal mining accident in the Zonguldak province of Turkey.

Turkish Coal Mining Agency head Burhan Inan told state television that the workers were opening up a space to reach a coal deposit when they were hit by a sudden methane gas discharge.

Five workers died in the mine, located in the town of Kozlu on the Black Sea coast, after breathing the gas and three others were killed after being trapped under coal dust.

One worker was rescued with injuries, while six others escaped unharmed, Inan said.

The incident follows a decision by the country to shut down dangerous mines and those that do not have an operating license. The Turkish government has recently been making steps to improve mining safety.

The worst mining disaster to hit Turkey was in 1992 when 270 miners were killed from a gas explosion in Zonguldak.

In May 2010, 30 miners died in a firedamp explosion at the Karadon coal mine in Zonguldak, the only basin in Turkey with minable coal deposits.