16 May 2014, News Wires – Energy Minister Taner Yildiz said on Thursday that the death toll of Turkey’s coal mine disaster had reached 282, making it the country’ s worst industrial disaster in history.
Yildiz said that a fire was continuing at the mine’s shaft and that rescue operations were suspended during the night due to accumulated carbon monoxide.
“Hopes of finding more survivors are diminishing during the last 12 hours; no miner has been rescued alive.
“The disaster occurred in the privately-owned mine in the western province of Manisa during a shift changeover while the fire broke out 150 metres underground,’’ Yildiz said.
Report says that as Soma Madencilik, the company that owns the mine, does not keep entry and exit records, no exact number is available of the number of people still trapped underground.
According to miners, between 700 and 800 workers work in one shift and the blast happened during a shift change.
There was also no clear information on the ratio of carbon dioxide and oxygen inside the mine.
There are about 1,000 people, including four rescue teams, police and journalists on the rescue scene and security has been strengthened.
Family members of miners were not allowed to stay at the rescue scene.
More than 3,000 people have died and more than 100,000 have been injured in mining accidents since 1941 in Turkey, figures from Turkey’s statistics agency show.
The last major mining tragedy in Turkey occurred in 1992 when a fire and explosion killed 263 people.
Two other big mining accidents took place in 1983 and 1990, leaving 103 and 68 dead respectively.