Turkey: over 200 dead in mine blast

Many others trapped with dimming hopes to rescue them

14 May, 09:58

    Mine explosion in Turkey Mine explosion in Turkey

    (ANSAmed) - ANKARA - Over 200 bodies have been recovered overnight by rescue workers at a Turkish coal mine at Soma in Manisa province which was partly destroyed Tuesday by an explosion. The death toll could however rise as dozens, perhaps hundreds or miners are still trapped underground.

    Tuesday's could be the most serious industrial accident in Turkey's modern history.

    Rescuers are continuing to work to find more survivors in the galleries of the mine which lies 400 metres below the surface.

    Energy Minister Taner Yildiz said Wednesday at dawn that at least 201 workers are dead.

    Officials don't know yet how many workers are trapped underground. According to Yildiz, 787 people were working inside the mine when an electrical fault triggered the explosion.

    Turkish press reports said over 360 workers were able to leave.

    Hopes were fading of finding more survivors as the blocked galleries filled with smoke and fire have no oxygen.

    ''We are going through a more critical phase'', said Yildiz.

    ''As time goes by, we are drawing closer to a very adverse outcome''.

    Hundreds of family members of trapped workers are waiting for news in front of the mine's entrance.

    The accident occurred Tuesday after an electrical fault allegedly triggered a power cut which caused a fire inside the mine.

    The leader of a mine workers' union, Nurettin Akcul, told HaberTurk television that Soma's accident could be the worst ever registered at a Turkish mine.

    The lack of security at mines across the country has been at the center of a controversy recently with members of the opposition asking in the past for an inquiry commission on the Soma mine in vain. (ANSAmed)

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