Coal Mine Explosion in Turkey Leaves 151 Dead, Hundreds Trapped



An explosion and fire at a coal mine in western Turkey killed at least 151 people, government officials said Tuesday.
Approximately 787 miners were underground at the time of the accident, which also injured 76 people, and trapped hundreds, Turkish Energy Minister Taner Yildiz said, according to the Associated Press. So far, 363 people have been rescued. The mine is located in Soma, a town in the Turkish province of Manisa, around 155 miles south of Istanbul.
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Most of the deaths were due to carbon-monoxide poisoning, Yildiz said, adding that some miners were 1,378 feet deep inside the mine. Elevators stopped working after the blast caused an electricity outage, stranding the miners underground, Reuters reported.
"Fresh air, oxygen is being pumped into the mine. This is the most important thing for our workers down there," Yildiz said, according to Reuters. "We are facing dioxide and carbon-monoxide poisoning ... We have to get our friends out of there swiftly."
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan postponed a day trip to Albania scheduled for Wednesday, so he could visit the disaster site.
"Rescue efforts for our brothers in the mine are ongoing ... God willing, in the coming hours, I hope to receive uplifting news," Erdogan said during a speech in capital Ankara.
Hundreds gathered outside the mine and a local hospital to find out news about their loved ones. Television footage showed rescued miners reuniting with relatives. At time of writing, rescue operations were still underway.

  • Turkey-mine-blast-1 An injured miner came out carried by rescuers, on May 13, 2014 after an explosion in a coal mine in Manisa, Turkey.
    IMAGE: BULENT KILIC/AFP/GETTY IMAGES
  • Ap118689606533 Miners carry a rescued miner 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, Tuesday, May 13, 2014, a Turkish official said.
    IMAGE: DEPO PHOTOS /ASSOCIATED PRESS
  • Ap231362462773 Medics place an injured miner into an ambulance after an explosion and fire at a coal mine in Soma, in western Turkey, Tuesday, May 13, 2014.
    IMAGE: DEPO PHOTOS /ASSOCIATED PRESS
  • Ap530648386849 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 Tuesday, May 13, 2014, a Turkish official said.
    IMAGE: ASSOCIATED PRESS/ASSOCIATED PRESS
  • Ap588574415617 Medics help a rescued miner 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, Tuesday, May 13, 2014, a Turkish official said.
    IMAGE: DEPO PHOTOS /ASSOCIATED PRESS
  • Ap689153085995 Family members gather near the mine 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, Tuesday, May 13, 2014, a Turkish official said.
    IMAGE: DEPO PHOTOS /ASSOCIATED PRESS
  • Ap70526823192 Family members cry as they wait outside a hospital 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, Tuesday, May 13, 2014, a Turkish official said.
    IMAGE: ASSOCIATED PRESS/ASSOCIATED PRESS
  • Ap717799055294 Medics help a rescued miner 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, Tuesday, May 13, 2014, a Turkish official said.
    IMAGE: DEPO PHOTOS /ASSOCIATED PRESS
  • Ap801735257891 Miners carry 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 Tuesday, May 13, 2014, a Turkish official said.
    IMAGE: ASSOCIATED PRESS/ASSOCIATED PRESS
  • Ap836465808524 Miners carefully carrying 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 Tuesday, May 13, 2014, a Turkish official said.
    IMAGE: ASSOCIATED PRESS/ASSOCIATED PRESS


















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