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Horror underground: Explosion in Turkey coal mine kills 201

Last updated on: May 14, 2014 10:48 IST

Horror underground: Explosion in Turkey coal mine kills 201

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A coal-mine explosion in Western Turkey killed at least 201 workers in the nation’s worst mining accident in more than two decades and rescuers raced to try to free hundreds more miners trapped underground.

The explosion on Tuesday at Soma Komur Isletmeleri AS’ mine in the Aegean province of Manisa could result in more deaths, Energy Minister Taner Yildiz said early Wednesday morning from the blast site, where he was monitoring the rescue effort.

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Image: A miner hugs a relative in front of the coal mine site in Soma after the blast killed 201 miners.
Photographs: Reuters/Osman Orsal

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Horror underground: Explosion in Turkey coal mine kills 201

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Of the 787 miners underground during the explosion, emergency workers evacuated 363, of whom 80 were injured, with four in critical condition, he said.

The explosion, thought to have been caused by an electrical fault, triggered a power outage, making the elevators unusable and leaving hundreds of miners stranded some two miles underground.

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Image: Rescue personnel and other authorities help lead an injured miner away from the blast site.
Photographs: Reuters
Tags: Turkey

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Horror underground: Explosion in Turkey coal mine kills 201

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Speaking about the incident, Yildiz, the energy minister, said, “It is a serious accident. Our priority is to reach our miner brothers... any figure we give could well be wrong.” Yildiz added that rescuers were pumping fresh air into the mine and rescue teams from neighbouring regions were rushing to the area.

Dozen of distressed relatives reached the site to gather news about their loved ones. Some even collected outside the hospital where the injured were rushed to, in hopes of receiving some news about their family members. 

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Image: A bereaved family member reacts after receiving news that one of her relatives is trapped inside the mine.
Photographs: Reuters

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Horror underground: Explosion in Turkey coal mine kills 201

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Soma Komur Isletmeleri AS, which owns the mine, confirmed that a number of its workers were killed but would not give a specific figure. It said the accident occurred despite the ‘highest safety measures and constant controls’ and added that an investigation would be launched. ‘Our main priority is to get our workers out so that they may be reunited with their loved ones,’ the company said in a statement.


Image: Rescue operations were still on and authorities hoped to pull out the remaining trapped miners.
Photographs: Reuters

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