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Death toll in Turkish mine blast rises above 200, many still trapped

Published on May 14, 2014 12:59 PM

SOMA, Turkey (REUTERS) – Rescuers pulled more dead and injured from a coal mine in western Turkey on Wednesday more than 12 hours after an explosion, bringing the death toll to 201 in the nation’s worst mining disaster for decades.

Hundreds more were still believed to be trapped in the mine in Soma, around 120 km northeast of the Aegean coastal city of Izmir. The explosion, which triggered a fire, occurred shortly after 3 pm local time on Tuesday.

“We are worried that this death toll will rise...I have to say that our hopes are dimming in terms of the rescue efforts,” Energy Minister Taner Yildiz told reporters at the scene.

Fellow miners said the fire was still burning underground, hampering the operation. A pall of smoke hung above the area.

Turkish miners carry a dead miner after a mine explosion near Soma, Manisa province, Turkey, on early May 14, 2014. -- PHOTO: EPA
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