A grim rescue operation is on in Turkey to save the hundreds of miners who have been trapped in a coal mine after an explosion and fire. With each passing hour hopes are fading as rescuers are racing to rescue the 200 + miners who are trapped deep underground in a coal mine in Western Turkey. This could be one of the worst mining disasters in the nation’s history.

According to Turkey’s Energy Minister Taner Yildiz, 787 people were working inside the coal mine when the explosion happened. According to latest estimates 232 persons have been killed in the explosion but the death count could go higher as authorities remove more debris. 363 persons have been rescued from the mine which lies some 155 miles South of Istanbul in Soma.

According to the minister, hope is fast dwindling. 57 mine workers were injured in the blast which was caused after a fire was triggered after an electrical fault. Most of the deaths had happened because of carbon monoxide poisoning. The fire is still burning inside the mine.

The catastrophic explosion which was triggered by an electrical fault happened during a change in shift. Initially the surviving miners had retreated still deeper into the mine which complicated efforts to pump fresh oxygen into the mine.  Turkey has seen a number of mining accidents in the past primarily due to lax security measures. In 199, a gas explosion had killed 263 miners near the Black Sea port of Zonguldak.

The mine is owned by SOMA Komur Isletmeleri A.S and it has confirmed that a number of workers have been killed. It however did not give the exact figures. The company has termed the accident as unfortunate and happened in spite of the highest quality of safety features which has been enforced by the company and a full investigation has been launched to ascertain the cause of the accident. The main priority of the company at present is to rescue the miners who are trapped in the mine.

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