News / Europe

274 Dead in Turkey's Worst-Ever Coal Mine Disaster

  • The body of a miner is carried to an ambulance in Soma, western Turkey, May 14, 2014.
  • Relatives of miners trapped in a coal mine wait in front of the site in Soma, western Turkey, May 14, 2014.
  • Family members wait outside a coal mine in Soma, western Turkey, May 14, 2014.
  • Family members wait outside a coal mine where more than 200 miners have been trapped after an explosion, in Soma, western Turkey, May 14, 2014.
  • A man kisses his son, rescued from the coal mine after an explosion, in Manisa, May 13, 2014.
  • Medics help a rescued miner after a deadly explosion and fire at a coal mine in Soma, western Turkey, May 13, 2014.
  • Medics, ambulances and relatives are seen at the entrance of a coal mine hours after a deadly explosion and fire in Soma, western Turkey, May 13, 2014.
  • Miners carry a rescued friend hours after a deadly explosion and fire at a coal mine in Soma, western Turkey, May 13, 2014.
  • Family members gather near the mine after a deadly explosion and fire at a coal mine in Soma, western Turkey, May 13, 2014.
  • An injured miner is carried into a hospital in Soma, western Turkey, May 13, 2014.
  • Two rescued miners sit waiting after an explosion and fire at a coal mine, in Soma, western Turkey, May 13, 2014.

Deadly Coal Mine Fire in Western Turkey

VOA News
Emergency workers in Turkey are looking for survivors after an electrical explosion and fire deep inside a coal mine killed at least 274 in the country's worst-ever mine disaster.

Government and mining company officials say nearly 450 miners have been rescued, but 120 may still be trapped inside the mine in the town of Soma, south of Istanbul.

Rescuers have been driven back by thick smoke and poisonous gases. They hope the trapped miners have taken refuge inside one of the so-called safe rooms.
 
Major Mining Accidents in the Past Five Years


March 3013 - Landslide buries 83 miners in Central Tibet
August 2010 - At least 60 miners die when a gold mine shaft collapses in a region controled by armed rebels in the Democratic Republic of Congo
March 2011 - Dozens are killed after a methane explosion at a coal mine near Quetta, Pakistan
November 2010 - Twenty nine coal miners trapped for five days after an explosion die in a second blast caused by methane gas in New Zealand
October 2010 - Thirty three miners are rescued after being trapped for more than two months follwoing a cave-in at a gold and copper mine in northern Chile
April 2010 - An explosion at a coal mine in West Virginia kills 29 U.S. miners
Anxious crowds outside the mine cheered when some of the men emerged with blackened faces but remarkably unharmed. As the day wore on Wednesday, the cheers became sobs when rescuers started bringing out bodies.

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan went to the scene. He infuriated the crowd by recalling past mine disasters and called workplace accidents "ordinary things."

Erdogan had to take refuge in a grocery store. He also said, though, the disaster in Soma will be thoroughly investigated.

Police in Ankara used tear gas and water cannons to disperse hundreds of protesters who tried to march on the energy ministry. In Istanbul, dozens gathered outside the headquarters of the company that owns the mine.

Officials say 787 people were inside the mine at the time of the blast. A VOA reporter said he spoke to miners taking part in the rescue operation, however, and they say that the number of miners is usually closer to 1,000.

Officials say most of the workers died from carbon monoxide poisoning after an electrical unit exploded, causing a fire inside the mine. The mining company, Soma Komur Isletmeleri, said it is unsure what caused the explosion.

Turkey's coal mines are notoriously dangerous, prompting some in parliament to demand an investigation into poor safety conditions.

Soma is Turkey's worst mining disaster since 1992 when a  gas explosion killed 263 in the Black Sea port of Zonguldak.

"I would like to say that, the pain we've left behind is not just that of the brethren we have lost, it is our shared pain, the pain of 77 million," said  Erdogan.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.

You May Like

Mali's Female Basketball Players Rebound After Islamist Occupation

Islamist extremists ruled northern Mali for most of 2012, imposing strict Sharia law, and now some 18 months later, the region is slowly getting back on its feet More

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

Many Chinese-made products go unsold, for now, with numerous Vietnamese consumers still angry over recent dispute More

Koreas Mark 61st Anniversary of War Armistice

Muted observances on both sides of heavily-armed Demilitarized Zone that separates two decades-long enemies More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Jake Bebeto from: Uk
May 15, 2014 5:09 PM
My father also a miner, conditions should be A LOT!!!! Better nowadays, the stories I was told were shocking


by: Lucy Bunz from: Anderson CA
May 14, 2014 8:49 PM
So sorry for family and friends. My grandfather was a coal miner in US when he came from Poland. Hard dangerous work. Sad time for our Turkish friends.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Students in Business for Themselvesi
X
Mike O'Sullivan
July 26, 2014 11:04 AM
They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Not Even Monks Spared From Thailand’s Junta-Backed Morality Push

With Thailand’s military government firmly in control after May’s bloodless coup, authorities are carrying out plans they say are aimed at restoring discipline, morality and patriotism to all Thais. The measures include a crackdown on illegal gambling, education reforms to promote students’ moral development, and a new 24-hour phone hotline for citizens to report misbehaving monks. Steve Sandford reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Virtual Program Teaches Farming Skills

In a fast-changing world beset by unpredictable climate conditions, farmers cannot afford to ignore new technology. Researchers in Australia are developing an online virtual world program to share information about climate change and more sustainable farming techniques for sugar cane growers. As VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports, the idea is to create a wider support network for farmers.
Video

Video Airline Expert: Missile will Show Signature on Debris

The debris field from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is spread over a 21-kilometer radius in eastern Ukraine. It is expected to take investigators months to sort through the airplane pieces to learn about the missile that brought down the jetliner and who fired it. VOAs Carolyn Presutti explains how this work will be done.
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

AppleAndroid