At least even miners were killed and another was missing after part of a coal mine in Turkey’s southeastern province of Sirnak collapsed on Tuesday, government spokesman Bekir Bozdag said.
Reuters cited Turkey’s energy ministry as saying that the coal mine was unlicensed and had been operating illegally.
“The activities of the mining field in Sirnak where the accident took place were stopped by the General Directorate of Mining Affairs in 2013 because it carried operational and security risks,” the energy ministry said.
Workplace accidents are not unusual in Turkey. Its rapid growth over the past decade has seen a construction boom and a scramble to meet soaring energy and commodities demand, with worker safety standards often failing to keep pace.
More than 3,000 people have been killed in mining accidents across Turkey since 1941, mostly due to fires, landslide or explosions.
A report from 2010 stated that the number of deaths in mine accidents in Turkey outnumbers those in the world’s biggest coal producers, the Unites States and China, in terms of fatalities per ton.
Its worst ever mining disaster took place in May 2014 in the western town of Soma, where 301 workers were killed.