Home > Terms > English (EN) > Death toll in Turkish mine blast exceeds 200, many still trapped

Death toll in Turkish mine blast exceeds 200, many still trapped

(Reuters) - Rescuers pulled more dead and injured from a coal mine in western Turkey on Wednesday more than 12 hours after an explosion, bringing the death toll to 201 in the nation's worst mining disaster for decades.

Hundreds more were still believed to be trapped in the mine in Soma, around 120 km (75 miles) northeast of the Aegean coastal city of Izmir. The explosion, which triggered a fire, occurred shortly after 3 pm (1200 GMT) on Tuesday.

"We are worried that this death toll will rise ... I have to say that our hopes are dimming in terms of the rescue efforts," Energy Minister Taner Yildiz told reporters at the scene.

Fellow miners said the fire was still burning underground, hampering the operation. A pall of smoke hung above the area.

Rescue workers pumped oxygen into the mine to try to keep those trapped by the blaze alive, as thousands of family members and co-workers gathered outside the town's hospital. Many of the dead had suffered carbon monoxide poisoning, Yildiz said.

The energy minister had warned late on Tuesday that 787 workers had been in the mine at the time of the blast, believed to have been caused by an electrical fault.

Some 80 people were pulled out wounded including several rescuers, four of them critically injured.

UNCERTAINTY

The explosion took place during a change in shifts, meaning there was uncertainty about the exact number of miners still trapped inside, although Turkey's disaster management agency (AFAD) put the figure at more than 200 late on Tuesday.

A cold storage warehouse, usually used for food, and freezer trucks served as makeshift morgues as hospital facilities overflowed. Medical staff intermittently emerged from the hospital to read the names of survivors being treated inside, with families and fellow workers clamoring for information.

Teams of psychiatrists were being pulled together to help counsel the families of victims. Paramilitary police guarded the entrance to the mine to keep distressed relatives at a safe distance from the rescue effort.

There were calls on social media for protests in front of the Istanbul headquarters of Soma Komur Isletmeleri, the operator of the mine. The company said in a brief statement late on Tuesday that there had been "a grave accident" caused by an explosion in a substation but gave few other details.

Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan cancelled a day trip to Albania, scheduled for Wednesday, and would instead go to the site of the disaster, sources in his office said.

The Labour Ministry said late on Tuesday its officials had carried out regular inspections at the mine, most recently in March this year, and that no irregularities had been detected.

Turkey's worst mining accident was in 1992, when a gas explosion killed 263 workers in the Black Sea province of Zonguldak. The country has a poor health and safety record in mining, particularly coal.

In May 2010, another gas explosion killed 30 miners, again in Zonguldak province.

0
Collect to Blossary

Member comments

You have to log in to post to discussions.

Terms in the News

Billy Morgan

Sports; Snowboarding

The British snowboarder Billy Morgan has landed the sport’s first ever 1800 quadruple cork. The rider, who represented Great Britain in the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, was in Livigno, Italy, when he achieved the man-oeuvre. It involves flipping four times, while body also spins with five complete rotations on a sideways or downward-facing axis. The trick ...

Marzieh Afkham

Broadcasting & receiving; News

Marzieh Afkham, who is the country’s first foreign ministry spokeswoman, will head a mission in east Asia, the state news agency reported. It is not clear to which country she will be posted as her appointment has yet to be announced officially. Afkham will only be the second female ambassador Iran has had. Under the last shah’s rule, Mehrangiz Dolatshahi, a ...

Weekly Packet

Language; Online services; Slang; Internet

Weekly Packet or "Paquete Semanal" as it is known in Cuba is a term used by Cubans to describe the information that is gathered from the internet outside of Cuba and saved onto hard drives to be transported into Cuba itself. Weekly Packets are then sold to Cuban's without internet access, allowing them to obtain information just days - and sometimes hours - after it ...

Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB)

Banking; Investment banking

The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) is an international financial institution established to address the need in Asia for infrastructure development. According to the Asian Development Bank, Asia needs $800 billion each year for roads, ports, power plants or other infrastructure projects before 2020. Originally proposed by China in 2013, a signing ...

Spartan

Online services; Internet

Spartan is the codename given to the new Microsoft Windows 10 browser that will replace Microsoft Windows Internet Explorer. The new browser will be built from the ground up and disregard any code from the IE platform. It has a new rendering engine that is built to be compatible with how the web is written today. The name Spartan is named after the ...

Featured Terms

  • 0

    Terms

  • 40

    Blossaries

  • 4

    Followers

Industry/Domain: Automotive Category: Automobile

2016 Ford GT

Ford's supercar stable has been empty since the departure of the limited-run Ford GT in 2006, but that's about to end with the introduction of the ...

Featured blossaries

Best Airport in the World

Category: Engineering   1 5 Terms

Trending

Category: Other   1 5 Terms