Turkey coal mine explosion: Over 205 dead

Istanbul, May 14: Over 205 miners were killed, 75 injured and more than 201 workers were trapped underground after an explosion in a coal mine in the western Turkish province of Manisa Tuesday, officials said.

Turkey's disaster and emergency management presidency said in a statement that the explosion occurred in a privately-owned mine in the Soma district of Turkey's Manisa province.

The Soma Coal Mining Company, the mine's operator, also issued a statement confirming casualties, but did not give the exact number of workers trapped in the mine.

The operator said that they inspected the mine's facilities only two months ago and found nothing against regulations.

Nearly 800 people were in the mine when the explosion took place, said officials

The explosion occurred at a power distribution unit two km below the surface, which caused the mine's elevator to stop working.

Reports said a fire broke out after an explosion caused by an electric fault. Nearly 600 workers were inside the mine, and while workers were changing their shift, a transformer exploded. Only 280 of them were said to have escaped.

The latest incident is one of the numerous mining accidents that Turkey has had in recent years. Accidents, cave-ins, and explosions have claimed the lives of dozens of mine workers yearly.

Last December, four miners, who were reportedly working at an unlicensed coal mine for 60 Turkish Liras (about $30) were killed in the Zonguldak province after an accident.

According to the Chamber of Mining Engineers of Turkey, 80 accidents took place in Turkish mines in 2012, which killed 61 people and injured 91 others.

Since 1955, at least 3,053 Turks have been killed and 326,208 others injured in mine accidents in the country.


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