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245 dead in Turkey mine explosion, 120 trapped

Published time: May 13, 2014 15:49
Edited time: May 14, 2014 16:58
People gather at a mine in the Soma district in the western Turkish province of Manisa on May 13, 2014.(AFP Photo / Ihlas News Agency)

People gather at a mine in the Soma district in the western Turkish province of Manisa on May 13, 2014.(AFP Photo / Ihlas News Agency)

A mine explosion in western Turkey has killed 245 people, with 80 injured according to Energy Minister Taner Yildiz, and the toll could rise with many more still trapped.

Erdogan made an announcement declaring that 238 had been killed at a news conference during a visit to the western town of Soma – the location of the disaster – on Wednesday. He added that a further 120 workers remained trapped.

However, Yildiz later confirmed that the death toll had risen to 245, while adding that the fire had still not been fully extinguished.

Earlier in the day, Yildiz told reporters that 787 workers had been in the Soma mine when the explosion hit a power unit. Most of the confirmed dead were killed by carbon monoxide poisoning, Yildiz added.

Four of the injured were in a critical condition, according to Yildiz.

More than 360 workers have been evacuated thus far. However, Yidiz said that hopes for the rescue effort were "dimming". "We are worried that this death toll will rise," he told reporters.

"We fear that the numbers could rise further," he stated, adding that it was necessary to complete the rescue operation by dawn.

Rescue workers pumped oxygen into the mine in an attempt to keep trapped miners alive, Reuters reported. A line of police held back thousands of family and fellow workers of the trapped miners who assembled outside of a Soma hospital.

"Fresh air, oxygen is being pumped into the mine. This is the most important thing for our workers down there," Yildiz said.

An injured miner came out carried by rescuers after an explosion in Manisa on May 13, 2014.(AFP Photo / Bulent Kilic)

The mayor of Soma, a district in Manisa, also said the explosion was caused by an electrical fault, Reuters reported. The explosion, which occurred about 1.2 miles below the surface, reportedly disabled an elevator in the mine shaft. The workers are trapped some 2.5 miles from the exit.

Soma is 120 km (75 miles) northeast of the Aegean coastal city of Izmir.

Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan cancelled a Wednesday trip to Albania in order to visit the site of the blast, his office told Reuters.

"Rescue efforts for our brothers in the mine are ongoing ... God willing, in the coming hours, I hope to receive uplifting news," Erdogan said Tuesday.

Turkey’s worst mining disaster in recent years was a gas explosion in 1992 near the Black Sea port of Zonguldak, which left some 270 workers dead. Since then, Turkey has borne witness to several mining accidents.

Comments (28)


truth 20.05.2014 17:55

WTF is Erdogan doing now to save the trapped miners? This must be TOP priority Turkey has enough resources n heavy machinery n they should have started this from day one instead you have a Turkish official kicking a protester as he is held down time to get rid of this scam from your country Turks the sooner the better


Ian McDougal 14.05.2014 15:03

no-zionism 14.05.2014 14:19

--- -------- -------

If you are human, what did you do to save Syria from destruction? Did you close the border between Turkey & Syria to prevent the terrorists from crossing? Apparently; NO.


That is a strawman argument and does nothing to benefit the conversation and laments of human life.


Anne Beckett 14.05.2014 13:58

Ethem Erkanat 14.05.2014 08:57

As a Turkish citizen I can say that human life is cheapest thing to be bought and sold in Turkey.When NATO needs soldiers we die,when western endustry needs coal we die.Govenrnment only care about money,loosing your life in a mine which has no precoutions against fire is fate accoarding to them.Still this Erdoğan can smile.


I think you're right and I have never understood this about Turkey or, especially, Erdogan.

View all comments (28)
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