Four people were killed and around 100 injured in an explosion that rocked a fireworks factory in northwestern Turkey on Friday, the Turkish health minister said.
The government’s disaster agency AFAD called the explosion an “industrial accident” in the district of Hendek in Sakarya province.
“As of right now, four people have died... and 97 people injured were taken to hospital,” Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said.
Sixteen of them were swiftly discharged from hospital, he added.
Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu said three factory workers were still missing, adding that the resultant fire had been brought under control.
The labor minister also went to Sakarya to monitor the situation, Anadolu said.
The ministers had been dispatched to the province by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Images on television earlier in the day showed a dark grey plume of smoke with sparks visible, a result of fireworks going off inside the building.
Hendek mayor Turgut Babaoglu said many workers escaped the building during the incident.
Some 85 ambulances and two helicopters were among emergency vehicles sent to the complex, the Health Minister Koca wrote on Twitter.
Video footage obtained by Reuters showed smoke billowing from the complex as firework explosions rang out and a huge plume of smoke rose into the sky. The initial blast was heard up to 50 km away, state-owned Anadolu news agency said.
The HaberTurk website reported there had been three separate explosions at the factory in 2009, 2011 and 2014. One person died in the incident in 2014, the website added.
State-owned Anadolu news agency reported governor Cetin Oktay Kaldirim as saying around 150-200 people were inside the complex in the Hendek district of the province.
It was not immediately clear what triggered the blasts. Reports said the factory was situated away from residential areas.
Families rushed to the site for news of their loved ones.
-- AFP, Reuters, The Associated Press
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