Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 20°C

min temp: 9°C

ESTD 1874 Search

The pigs are coming. Find out more about

Pigs Gone Wild

here.

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.

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.

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

A man has died following a single vehicle collision on the A12 in Wangford.

Stock image.

Police have detained two people on suspicion of causing grievous bodily harm after an incident in Willow Close.

Dougie and Sheila Gedny with their daughter Linda Main at the completion of Upper Abbey Farmhouse at Leiston.

A Suffolk woman has returned to the house where she was born more than 70 years ago to see it fully restored following a fire.

Nitro Circus Live at Foxhall Stadium.

Fans have been left upset and out of pocket after they claim they were turned away from a stunt show because of bad weather - only to find the event went ahead slightly later than scheduled.

Parade to mark the opening of the Southwold Arts Festival

The circus rolled up to a Suffolk seaside town for the launch of an annual festival featuring some ‘big top’ names from the world of art, literature, music and dance.

The Pigs Gone Wild trail covers key Ipswich landmarks

There were shrieks of delightthis morning as children scrambled over concrete plinths holding some exciting new additions to Ipswich town centre.

Will Young at Newmarket Nights - photos by Simon Traylen

Evergreen pop star Will Young showed he remains a hit with fans as crowds flocked to see him perform at Newmarket racecourse.

Most read

Great Days Out

cover

Click here to view
the Great Days Out
supplement

View

Most commented

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Streetlife

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Great British Life

Great British Life
MyDate24 MyPhotos24