Hope is waning of saving 18 Turkish miners trapped by a flood in a mine in the south of the country, the energy minister acknowledged Thursday, as rescue efforts entered a third day.
"Time is ticking by. I have to tell you that hope is waning concerning our 18 worker brothers," said Energy Minister Taner Yildiz, who is at the scene of the disaster in the Karaman province of southern Turkey.
"It is not just because of the water. It is because of the tonnes of mud and waste that have crashed down into the pits," he added in televised comments.
Tuesday`s accident in southern Turkey was the latest to hit the country`s disaster-prone mining industry after 301 workers were killed in a coal mine explosion in Soma in May.
Some 400 workers are still at the scene in the village of Pamuklu seeking to syphon out an estimated 10 tonnes of water that burst into the shaft and broke down the its walls on Tuesday.
Both Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Wednesday visited the area in a clear bid to show that the government was on top of the rescue efforts.
Erdogan was vehemently criticised over his handling of the Soma disaster when he notoriously said such a catastrophe was part of the job, comparing it to mining disasters in 19th-century Britain.