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

Will Cuba Follow the Southeast Asia Model?

Decision to restore ties between US and Cuba has some debating whether it will lead to an enhancement or regression of democracy on the Communist island nation More

Kenyan Designer Finds Her Niche in Fashion Industry

‘Made in China’ fabrics underlies her success More

Report: CIA, Israel's Mossad Killed Senior Hezbollah Commander

The Washington Post story says Imad Mughniyah was killed instantly by a bomb "triggered remotely" from Tel Aviv by Mossad agents 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.
Jefferson's Library Continues to Impress, 200 Years Lateri
X
Deborah Block
January 31, 2015 12:12 AM
Two hundred years after the U.S. Congress purchased a huge collection of books belonging to former President Thomas Jefferson, it remains one of America’s greatest literal treasures and has become the centerpiece of Washington’s Library of Congress. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.
Video

Video Jefferson's Library Continues to Impress, 200 Years Later

Two hundred years after the U.S. Congress purchased a huge collection of books belonging to former President Thomas Jefferson, it remains one of America’s greatest literal treasures and has become the centerpiece of Washington’s Library of Congress. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.
Video

Video Egypt's Suez Canal Dreams Tempered by Continued Unrest

Egypt plans to expand the Suez Canal, raising hopes that the end of its economic crisis may be in sight. But some analysts say they expect the project may cost too much and take too long to make life better for everyday Egyptians. VOA's Heather Murdock reports.
Video

Video Threat of Creeping Lava Has Hawaiians on Edge

Residents of the small town of Pahoa on the Big Island of Hawaii face an advancing threat from the Kilauea volcano. Local residents are keeping a watchful eye on creeping lava. Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Pro-Kremlin Youth Group Creatively Promotes 'Patriotic' Propaganda

As Russia's President Vladimir Putin faces international pressure over Ukraine and a failing economy, unofficial domestic groups are rallying to his support. One such youth organization, CET, or Network, uses creative multimedia to appeal to Russia's urban youth with patriotic propaganda. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Filmmakers Produce Hand-Painted Documentary on Van Gogh

The troubled life of the famous 19th century Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh has been told through many books and films, but never in the way a group of filmmakers now intends to do. "Loving Vincent " will be the first ever feature-length film made of animated hand-painted images, done in the style of the late artist. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Issues or Ethnicity? Question Divides Nigeria

As Nigeria goes to the polls next month, many expect the two top presidential contenders to gain much of their support from constituencies organized along ethnic or religious lines. But are faith and regional blocs really what political power in Nigeria is about? Chris Stein reports.
Video

Video Rock-Consuming Organisms Alter Views of Life Processes

Scientists thought they knew much about how life works, until a discovery more than two decades ago challenged conventional beliefs. Scientists found that there are organisms that breathe rocks. And it is only recently that the scientific community is accepting that there are organisms that could get energy out of rocks. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports.
Video

Video Paris Attacks Highlight Global Weapons Black Market

As law enforcement officials piece together how the Paris and Belgian terror cells carried out their recent attacks, questions are being asked about how they obtained military grade assault weapons - which are illegal in the European Union. As VOA's Jeff Swicord reports, experts say there is a very active worldwide black market for these weapons, and criminals and terrorists are buying.
Video

Video Activists Accuse China of Targeting Religious Freedom

The U.S.-based Chinese religious rights group ChinaAid says 2014 was the worst year for religious freedom in China since the end of the Cultural Revolution. As Ye Fan reports, activists say Beijing has been tightening religious controls ever since Chinese leader Xi Jinping came to office. Hu Wei narrates.
Video

Video Theologians Cast Doubt on Morality of Drone Strikes

In 2006, stirred by photos of U.S. soldiers mistreating Iraqi prisoners, a group of American faith leaders and academics launched the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. It played an important role in getting Congress to investigate, and the president to ban, torture. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Former Sudan 'Lost Boy' Becomes Chess Master in NYC

In the mid-1980’s, thousands of Sudanese boys escaped the country's civil war by walking for weeks, then months and finally for more than a year, up to 1,500 kilometers across three countries. The so-called Lost Boys of the Sudan had little time for games. But one of them later mastered the game of chess, and now teaches it to children in the New York area. VOA’s Bernard Shusman in New York has his story.
Video

Video NASA Monitors Earth’s Vital Signs From Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, is wrapping up its busiest 12-month period in more than a decade, with three missions launched in 2014 and two this month, one in early January and the fifth scheduled for January 29. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, the instruments being lifted into orbit are focused on Earth’s vital life support systems and how they are responding to a warmer planet.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid