Explosion in Turkish Coal Mine Kills 201 Miners, Traps 200 More

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  • Turkish coal mine accident
    Relatives of miners who were killed or injured in a mine explosion react as rescuers work in Soma, a district in Turkey's western province of Manisa May 14, 2014. Rescuers pulled more dead and injured from the coal mine in western Turkey on Wednesday more than 12 hours after an explosion, bringing the death toll to 201 in the nation's worst mining disaster for decades. Hundreds more were still believed to be trapped in the mine in Soma, around 120 km (75 miles) northeast of the Aegean coastal city of Izmir. The explosion, which triggered a fire, occurred shortly after 3 pm (1200 GMT) on Tuesday. REUTERS/ Osman Orsal (TURKEY - Tags: DISASTER) Reuters
  • Rescue Operations at Turkish Coal Mine Accident
    Rescuers carry a miner who sustained injuries after a mine explosion, to an ambulance in Soma, a district in Turkey's western province of Manisa May 14, 2014. Rescuers pulled more dead and injured from the coal mine in western Turkey on Wednesday more than 12 hours after an explosion, bringing the death toll to 201 in the nation's worst mining disaster for decades. Hundreds more were still believed to be trapped in the mine in Soma, around 120 km (75 miles) northeast of the Aegean coastal city of Izmir. The explosion, which triggered a fire, occurred shortly after 3 pm (1200 GMT) on Tuesday. REUTERS/ Osman Orsal (TURKEY - Tags: DISASTER) Reuters
  • Rescue Operations at Turkish Coal Mine Accident
    Rescuers carry a miner who sustained injuries after a mine explosion, to an ambulance in Soma, a district in Turkey's western province of Manisa May 14, 2014. Rescuers pulled more dead and injured from the coal mine in western Turkey on Wednesday more than 12 hours after an explosion, bringing the death toll to 201 in the nation's worst mining disaster for decades. Hundreds more were still believed to be trapped in the mine in Soma, around 120 km (75 miles) northeast of the Aegean coastal city of Izmir. The explosion, which triggered a fire, occurred shortly after 3 pm (1200 GMT) on Tuesday. REUTERS/ Osman Orsal (TURKEY - Tags: DISASTER) Reuters
  • Relatives of miners and locals
    An injured miner is carried into a hospital in Soma, a district in Turkey's western province of Manisa May 13, 2014. An explosion and fire in the coal mine in western Turkey killed at least seventeen miners on Tuesday and may have trapped as many as 300 more, officials said. REUTERS/Depo Photos (TURKEY - Tags: DISASTER ENERGY) Reuters
  • Mine site
    A general view of a coal mine where miners are trapped near Soma, a district in Turkey's western province of Manisa May 13, 2014. An explosion and fire in the coal mine in western Turkey killed at least four miners on Tuesday and may have trapped as many as 300 more, officials said. REUTERS/Ihlas/Yilmaz Saripinar (TURKEY - Tags: DISASTER ENERGY) Reuters
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A transformer explosion that caused a fire in a coal mine in western Turkey on Wednesday killed at least 201 workers. The accident is considered one of the worst mining disasters in the country's history.

According to Turkish Energy Minister Taner Yildz, 787 miners were inside the coal mine in Soma, located 155 miles south of Istanbul. So far, 363 workers have been rescued, while more than 200 are still trapped.

He said at least 80 miners are injured, four of whom are in serious condition.

The incident happened when the miners were preparing to change shifts. Since there were more workers inside than usual, officials warned the death toll could be higher than the initial number of 201.

Yildiz said the 201 died by carbon monoxide poisoning.

The Natural Disaster and Emergency Coordination Directorate said the mine shaft is about two-thirds of a mile or 1 kilometre underground. The directorate has sent about 100 rescuers, dozens of ambulances and a helicopter to the mine for search-and-rescue operations.

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