The explosion took place at 9:30 a.m. at the Çöllolar Coal Field near the Afşin-Elbistan power plant. While five workers were rescued from the mine by search and rescue teams, no contact was established with the other miners.
While officials did not mention the exact number of workers who are missing, reports said nine are missing. The missing people include two engineers, three machine operators and four workers who were reportedly working on the construction of belt tracking in the area. The same mine was the scene of an explosion earlier this month on Feb. 6, which claimed the life of one worker and injured 10 others.
Family members of the mine workers rushed to the site after they heard about the mine blast. Since officials fear other explosions in the same vicinity, a large area was cordoned off and people were prevented from entering the area. Other mine workers in the area asked the officials to quicken search and rescue efforts, saying there are more workers under the ground.
Elbistan District Governor Metin Maytalman, Afşin District Governor Faik Arıcan and the Elbistan branch president of the Miners’ Union (Maden-İş), İsmet Bölükbaşı, are also in the region and closely following search and rescue efforts. Helicopters were sent to the region from Malatya and Kayseri to join the search and rescue teams there. One civilian and two military helicopters have been flying over the region since the explosion.
The rescued workers were taken to Afşin State Hospital for treatment. While they were found to have gone into shock due to the explosion, they were said to be in good condition.