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Official: Turkish miners trapped in mine collapse

ANKARA, Turkey — A methane gas explosion on Tuesday caused the collapse of an underground chamber of a Turkish coal mine in northwestern Turkey, trapping more than two dozen workers, an official said Tuesday.

The blast occurred at a mine near the town of Dursunbey in Balikesir province. Ruhi Yilmaz, the mayor of Dursunbey, said more than two dozen workers were still trapped but "no one was reported dead."

The state-run Anatolia news agency said 49 miners were believed to be inside the mine at the time of the collapse and 23 of them have been evacuated so far.

Yilmaz said three of the injured were hospitalized with burns.

The mine lies some 20 kilometers (12 miles) away from the center of Dursunbey.

In December, a similar accident killed 19 miners in Bursa province, also in northwestern Turkey. Safety violations and outdated equipment have been factors in past mine accidents in the country.

In Turkey's worst mining disaster, a gas explosion killed 270 workers near the Black Sea port of Zonguldak in 1992.