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245 dead, close to 450 rescued in Turkey mine disaster: officials

Published on May 15, 2014 12:20 AM
A man sits near graves during the funeral of a miner who died in a fire at a coal mine, at a cemetery in Soma, a district in Turkey's western province of Manisa on May 14, 2014. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

ANKARA (AFP) - Turkey put the death toll from the devastating mine blast at 245 on Wednesday, and a coal mine operator said nearly 450 of its workers had been rescued.

Energy Minister Taner Yildiz said the ongoing fire and toxic carbon monoxide fumes were hampering rescue efforts at the mine in the western town of Soma.

The mine operator Soma Komur said in a statement that close to 450 of its workers had been rescued since the explosion on Tuesday.