Death Toll in Turkish Coal Mine Distaster Rises to 245 İn Soma,Turkey
SOMA, Turkey Rescuers struggled to reach more than 200 miners trapped underground early Wednesday after an explosion and fire at a coal mine in western Turkey killed at least 201 workers, authorities said, in one of the worst mining disasters in Turkish history.
Energy Minister Taner Yildiz said 787 people were inside the coal mine in Soma, some 250 kilometers (155 miles) south of Istanbul, 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 serious condition, Yildiz 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 likely raised the casualty toll because there were more miners inside the mine than usual.
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,” Yildiz 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.