The death toll from a coal mine explosion in northern Turkey has increased to 41.

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, hoping for news.

There were 110 miners working several hundred metres below ground when the explosion occurred on Friday evening.

The families’ wait for news turned to devastation by noon on Saturday, and the funerals of some of those killed were held later in the day.

Turkey Mine Explosion
Rescuers at the mine (Khalil Hamra/AP)

Women cried at the funeral of miner Selcuk Ayvaz, whose coffin was wrapped in the red and white Turkish flag.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan arrived at the scene on Saturday afternoon and said the body of one missing miner had been reached, confirming 41 were killed.

He was flanked by officials, miners and rescuers as he vowed to bring an end to mining disasters.

“We don’t want to see deficiencies or unnecessary risks,” Mr Erdogan said, adding an investigation would reveal if anyone was responsible for the blast.

Interior minister Suleyman Soylu said 11 miners were injured and are in hospital, with five in a serious condition, while 58 others managed to get out of the mine on their own or were rescued unharmed.

Turkey Mine Explosion
The relatives of those missing gathered outside the mine (Khalil Hamra/AP)

Preliminary assessments indicate the explosion was caused by firedamp, which is a reference to flammable gases found in coal mines, energy minister Fatih Donmez said.

A miner who works the day shift said he saw the news and hurried to the site to help with the rescue.

Celal Kara, 40, said: “We saw a frightful scene, it cannot be described, it’s very sad.

“They’re all my friends… they all had dreams.”

In Turkey’s worst mine disaster, 301 people died in 2014 in a fire inside a coal mine in the town of Soma, in western Turkey.

The head of Disk, a left-wing trade union, said he is “sad and angry” because deaths are preventable and the union’s safety suggestions have been ignored.

Even though more inspections were mandated after the Soma tragedy, Disk leader Arzu Cerkezoglu claimed some precautions were ignored for profitability, and he called Friday’s explosion a “massacre”.