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

Turkey: No Ransom Paid for Release of Hostages Held by IS Militants

President Erdogan hails release of hostages as diplomatic success but declines to be drawn on whether their release freed Ankara's hand to take more active stance against insurgents More

Audio Sierra Leone Ends Ebola Lockdown

Health ministry says it has reached 75 percent of its target of visiting 1.5 million homes to locate infected, educate population about virus More

US Pivot to Asia Demands Delicate Balancing Act

As tumult in Middle East distracts Obama administration, efforts to shift American focus eastward appear threatened 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.
Natural Gas Export Plan Divides Maryland Towni
X
Deborah Block
September 21, 2014 2:12 PM
A U.S. power company that has been importing natural gas now wants to export it. If approved, its plant in Lusby, Maryland, would likely be the first terminal on the United States East Coast to export liquefied natural gas from American pipelines. While some residents welcome the move because it will create jobs, others oppose it, saying the expansion could be a safety and environmental hazard. VOA’s Deborah Block examines the controversy.
Video

Video Natural Gas Export Plan Divides Maryland Town

A U.S. power company that has been importing natural gas now wants to export it. If approved, its plant in Lusby, Maryland, would likely be the first terminal on the United States East Coast to export liquefied natural gas from American pipelines. While some residents welcome the move because it will create jobs, others oppose it, saying the expansion could be a safety and environmental hazard. VOA’s Deborah Block examines the controversy.
Video

Video Difficult Tactical Battle Ahead Against IS Militants in Syria

The U.S. president has ordered the military to intensify its fight against the Islamic State, including in Syria. But how does the military conduct air strikes in a country that is not a U.S. ally? VOA correspondent Carla Babb reports from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Iran, World Powers Seek Progress in Nuclear Talks

Iran and the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany, known as the P5 + 1, have started a new round of talks on Iran's nuclear program. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports that as the negotiations take place in New York, a U.S. envoy is questioning Iran's commitment to peaceful nuclear activity.
Video

Video Alibaba Shares Soar in First Day of Trading

China's biggest online retailer hit the market Friday -- with its share price soaring on the New York Stock Exchange. The shares were priced at $68, but trading stalled at the opening, as sellers held onto their shares, waiting for buyers to bid up the price. More on the world's biggest initial public offering from VOA’s Bernard Shusman in New York.
Video

Video Obama Goes to UN With Islamic State, Ebola on Agenda

President Obama goes to the United Nations General Assembly to rally nations to support a coalition against Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria. He also will look for nations to back his plan to fight the Ebola virus in West Africa. As VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports, Obama’s efforts reflect new moves by the U.S. administration to take a leading role in addressing world crises.
Video

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calais

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Westgate Siege Anniversary Brings Back Painful Memories

One year after it happened, the survivors of the terror attack on Nairobi's Westgate Shopping Mall still cannot shake the images of that tragic incident. For VOA, Mohammed Yusuf tells the story of victims still waiting for the answer to the question 'how could this happen?'
Video

Video Militant Assault in Syria Displaces Thousands of Kurds

A major assault by Islamic State militants on Kurds in Syria has sent a wave of new refugees to the Turkish border, where they were stopped by Turkish border security. Turkey is already hosting about 700,000 Syrian refugees who fled the civil war between the government and the opposition. But the government in Ankara has a history of strained relations with Turkey's Kurdish minority. Zlatica Hoke reports Turkey is asking for international help.
Video

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

The International Whaling Commission, meeting in Slovenia, has voted to uphold a court ruling banning Japan from hunting whales in the Antarctic Ocean. Conservationists hailed the ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid