An explosion and blast in a coal mine in western Turkey claimed the lives of at least 201 miners, injured a further 80 and trapped more than 200 below ground, according to officials. Taner Yildiz, Turkey’s energy minister, read at least 201 miners had died in the accident, with the main cause of death being carbon monoxide and dioxide poisoning.
He said 400 people were affected in the rescue attempt. “Time is not working in favor,” he appended. Cengiz Ergun, mayor of the Manisa province encompassing the town of Samoa where the accident occurred, said nearly 600 actors had been undercover at the time of the burst.
The fire in the power unit of the mine in Samoa, about 120km northeast of the Aegean coastal city of Izmir, triggered a power swing, pulling in the elevators unusable and leaving hundreds of workers stranded underground.
Turkey’s official disaster and emergency response unit, Afad, had put the death toll at the mine near the town of Soma at 70 as of midnight local time. Unluckily, we could find out a dismal film.
Looks like it will be a really bad night. The death toll may climb up, but the rescue teams are running hard,” one government official stated. Recep Tayyip Erdogan, prime minister, cancelled a trip to Albania scheduled for Wednesday in parliamentary procedure to get to the disaster situation, sources in his post said.
The disaster looked set to fuel a political row, as scarcely two weeks ago, Turkey’s main opposition party had filed a parliamentary move to investigate work-related accidents in the same mine. The proposal was turned down. In a statement, the Soma Coal Mining Company said that an inspection carried out at the mine in March had revealed no safety hazards.
More than 3,000 workers have died in Turkish mines since 1941. The country’s deadliest coal mine disaster took place in 1992, when an explosion killed 263 workers in the Black Sea province of Zonguldak.