Overcast

Overcast

max temp: 11°C

min temp: 9°C

ESTD 1874 Search

Europe: Rescuers try to save trapped miners in Turkey after explosion and fire leaves at least 201 dead

08:12 14 May 2014

Miners help a rescued friend hours after an explosion and fire at a coal mine killed at least 17 miners and left up to 300 workers trapped underground, in Soma, in western Turkey, late last night a Turkish official said. Twenty people were rescued from the mine but one later died in the hospital, Soma administrator Mehmet Bahattin Atci told reporters. The town is 250 kilometers (155 miles) south of Istanbul. The death toll was expected to rise.(AP Photo)

Miners help a rescued friend hours after an explosion and fire at a coal mine killed at least 17 miners and left up to 300 workers trapped underground, in Soma, in western Turkey, late last night a Turkish official said. Twenty people were rescued from the mine but one later died in the hospital, Soma administrator Mehmet Bahattin Atci told reporters. The town is 250 kilometers (155 miles) south of Istanbul. The death toll was expected to rise.(AP Photo)

Rescuers were struggling to reach more than 200 miners trapped underground after an explosion and fire at a coal mine in western Turkey killed at least 201 workers.

shares

In one of the worst mining disasters in Turkish history, energy minister Taner Yildiz said 787 people were inside the coal mine in Soma at the time of the accident and 363 of them had been rescued so far.

At least 80 miners were injured, including four who were in a serious condition, he told reporters in Soma, as he oversaw the rescue operation involving more than 400 rescuers.

The accident occurred when the workers were preparing for a shift change, officials said, which probably raised the casualty toll because there were more miners inside the mine than usual.

Mr Yildiz said the deaths were caused by carbon monoxide poisoning and feared the death toll could end up much higher than the latest count of 201 workers.

The rescue effort is “reaching a critical stage,” he said, with more deaths likely as time passes.

Earlier, the minister said the rescue operations were hindered because the mine had not completely been cleared of gas.

Authorities say the disaster followed an explosion and fire caused by a power distribution unit at the mine, which is some 155 miles south of Istanbul.

Nurettin Akcul, a mining trade union leader, told HaberTurk television that Turkey was probably facing its worst mining accident ever.

“Time is working against us. We fear that the numbers could rise further,” Mr Yildiz said.

“We have to finish this (rescue operation) by dawn. I have to say that our pain, our trouble could increase.”

Earlier Mr Yildiz said some of the workers were 460 yards deep inside the mine. News reports said the workers could not use lifts to get out of the mine because the explosion had caused a power cut.

Television footage showed people cheering and applauding as some trapped workers emerged out of the mine, helped by rescuers, their faces and hard-hats covered in soot.

One wiped away tears on his jacket, another smiled, waved and flashed a “thumbs up” sign at onlookers.

Dozens of ambulances ferried back and forth bodies and the injured extracted from the mine and rescue workers were massed at the entrance of the mine on a hill side. Family members at the scene pleaded for news of their loved ones.

One woman threw herself on the ground, crying after hearing about the death of a loved one, HaberTurk television showed.

There were tears of joy for another who told the station she had just spoken by telephone to a missing relative.

Police set up fences and stood guard around Soma state hospital to keep the crowds away.

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan postponed a one-day visit to Albania scheduled for today and planned to visit Soma instead.

SOMA Komur Isletmeleri, which owns the mine, said the accident occurred despite the “highest safety measures and constant controls” and added that an investigation was being 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.

Mining accidents are common in Turkey, which is plagued by poor safety conditions.

Turkey’s worst mining disaster was a 1992 gas explosion that killed 263 workers near the Black Sea port of Zonguldak.

shares

0 comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files
Comments

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other East Anglian Daily Times visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by East Anglian Daily Times staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique East Anglian Daily Times account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

Traffic

The A14 has reopened after a seven-vehicle crash on the A14 this evening.

Oscar Fitzgerald

A man from Lowestoft who raped a 12-year-old girl after meeting her online has been jailed.

Fire Service Stock Pictures

Firefighters are currently tackling a blaze in Wivenhoe.

Stowmarket's Regal Theatre is premiering Dad's Army. In conjunction with the cinemas 80th Birthday.

A Suffolk town’s theatre and cinema kicked off its 80th birthday celebrations in style with a sell-out premiere screening of star-studded film Dad’s Army.

An East of England Ambulance on a blue-light call. Library image.

An ambulance crash which left a man fighting for his life has prompted two investigations.

The Lego model of Moyses Hall Museum in Bury arrives at the museum.

Mayors get to open and unveil pretty much everything, but one ceremonial Suffolk leader is likely the first ever to reveal to the world a Lego version of himself opening a Lego version of the local museum.

Remi Morrison is pictured at Pump and Grind in Ipswich.

Another week of great music and events is upon us and Remi Morrison brings you a round up of what is happening in Ipswich over the next few days.

Most read

Fred Olsen Travel Sale

cover

Click here to view
the Fred Olsen
Travel Sale

View

Most commented

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Topic pages

Streetlife

Great British Life

Great British Life
MyDate24 MyPhotos24