The death toll from a coal mine explosion in northern Turkey rose to at least 41 fatalities on Saturday, authorities said.
Desperate relatives had waited all night in the cold outside the state- owned TTK Amasra Muessese Mudurlugu mine in the town of Amasra, in the Black Sea coastal province of Bartin, waiting for news.
There were 110 miners working in the pit when the explosion occurred on Friday night.
Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu said on Saturday that 41 miners were confirmed dead. Eleven were injured and hospitalized, while another 58 managed to get out of the mine on their own or were rescued unharmed.
The health status of one remaining miner was unclear.
Energy Minister Fatih Donmez said rescue efforts were almost complete. He had previously said that a fire was still burning in the gallery of the mine where more than a dozen miners had been trapped.
Work to isolate and cool the fire continued, he said.
Efforts continue to rescue 15 people, most of whom are trapped in the mine gallery.
Preliminary assessments indicated the explosion was likely caused by firedamp, which is a reference to flammable gases found in coal mines, Donmez said overnight.
A miner who works the day shift said he saw the news and rushed to the site to help with the rescue.
“We saw a horrible scene, it cannot be described, it is very sad,” said Celal Kara, 40. covered in soot.
Ambulances were waiting at the scene. Rescue teams were dispatched to the area, including from neighboring provinces, Turkey's disaster management agency AFAD said.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was expected to visit Amasra on Saturday.
Separately, the Turkish police headquarters said in a statement that legal action would be taken against 12 online users who allegedly shared provocative content about the mine explosion to incite hatred on social media.
Turkey's worst mining disaster was in 2014, when 301 people died in a fire inside a coal mine in the city of Soma in western Turkey.