201 Dead, Hundreds Trapped in Turkey Mine Blast

Rescue efforts underway

By Newser Editors and Wire Services

Posted May 13, 2014 10:32 AM CDT | Updated May 14, 2014 12:22 AM CDT

(Newser) – Yesterday was a deadly day for miners: An explosion and a fire killed at least 201 workers at a coal mine in western Turkey and hundreds more remained trapped underground, government officials said today. 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. He said at least 80 miners were injured, including four in serious condition. More than 400 rescuers are racing to save people trapped in the mine, which is located about 155 miles from Istanbul.

Authorities say the disaster followed an explosion and fire caused by a power-distribution unit. Yildiz said most of the deaths were the result of carbon monoxide poisoning. "Time is working against us," he said. Television footage showed people cheering and applauding as some trapped workers emerged from of the mine, helped by rescuers, their faces and hard-hats covered in soot. The rescue effort was being hampered by the fact that the mine was made up of tunnels that were miles long.

Two miners look around after being rescued hours after an explosion and fire at a coal mine in Soma, Turkey.   (AP Photo)
Medics help a rescued miner in Turkey.   (AP Photo/Depo Photos)
Turkish mine workers march to protest the government's privatization plans of mines and economy policies in Ankara, Turkey, on April 10, 2014.   (AP Photo/Burhan Ozbilici)
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