Turkey coal mine explosion: Death toll rises

An explosion at a coal mine in western Turkey has left at least 201 workers dead and scores injured, officials say.

Energy Minister Taner Yildiz said 787 people had been inside the mine at Soma in Manisa province when an electrical fault triggered the blast, the BBC reports.

Rescuers worked through the night to try to reach hundreds more miners still trapped underground. Worried relatives have gathered near the privately owned mine, about 450km (280 miles) west of the capital Ankara.

Mr Yildiz said that of the workers inside the mine at the time of the accident, only about 360 of them – including those killed – had been accounted for. It is the carbon monoxide poisoning that claimed many lives. Oxygen was being pumped into the mine to help those still trapped, he added.

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The electrical fault triggered a power cut, making the mine cages unusable. Those trapped are reported to be 2km (1.2 miles) below the surface and 4km from the mine entrance.

TV footage showed rescuers helping workers from the mine, their faces and hard-hats covered in soot and dust. Some were carried on stretchers to waiting ambulances.

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has postponed a trip to Albania over the accident and is to visit Soma instead, his office said.

www.belsat.eu/en, via bbc.co.uk

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