At least 18 miners remain trapped inside a collapsed mine in Turkey's southern Karaman province after it was flooded around Tuesday noon, Turkey's Energy Minister Taner Yildiz said Tuesday night, Anadolu agency reported.
Earlier reports suggested there were at least 40 miners trapped inside, but the latest figures from the minister reveals that there were in total 34 miners, out of whom now 18 remain stuck. The flooded mine is near the Ermenek town in Karaman province, around 400 kilometers south of Ankara.
Addressing a press conference on the site of the accident, Yildiz said the water level in the flooded mine was continuing to rise. "It is increasing by a meter every two hours," he said.
At that moment, a single pump was being used to flush out the water from the mine, while a second pump was on site and ready to be used, the minister said.
The 34 workers got trapped when a water pipe inside a private lignite mine exploded, the Disaster and Emergency Management Authority of Turkey, or the AFAD, said earlier Tuesday.
The disaster management body also said that a 225-person team was on site for the search-and-rescue mission.
"Two aircraft, 20 ambulances and eight AFAD rescue vehicles continue their search-and-rescue efforts. One mobile base station has been set up at the scene and adequate food packets have also been delivered," it said.
Energy and Natural Resources Minister Taner Yildiz and Transport, Maritime Affairs and Communications Minister Lutfi Elvan remain on the spot to monitor the situation.