More than 200 people were killed after an explosion on Tuesday at a coal mine in western Turkey, one of the worst industrial disasters ever to hit the country.
Hundreds more were still believed to be trapped in the mine in Soma, around 120 km north-east of the Aegean coastal city of Izmir. More than 700 miners were working underground when the blast occurred.
Soma is one of the key centres for lignite coal mining in Turkey, a district with a population of around 100,000 where the mines and a lignite-fired thermal power plant are the main economic activity.
Experts say the safety record of Turkey's coal mines lags behind that of most industrial nations.
Explosions and cave-ins are common in the country, particularly in private mines where safety regulations are often flouted. Unions have slammed the authorities for failing to supervise the sector, particularly when it comes to sub-contracting firms that employ workers with little training.
The country's worst mining accident happened in 1992 when 263 workers were killed in a gas explosion in a mine in Zonguldak.
More than 3,000 miners have died in Turkey's coal mines, according to official statistics going back to 1941. Last year, 95 workers were killed in mining accidents, up from 78 in 2012, according to miners union Dev-Maden Sen. Just under a dozen people were killed this year through April.
Mining accidents are also not uncommon in other countries like China, despite technological improvements and stricter safety regulations. China, which produces more than one-third of annual global coal output, accounts for more than two-thirds of mining deaths around the world each year.
We look at some of the recent mining disasters around the world:
- 2013: 83 workers were buried by a landslide at a gold mining site in a mountainous area of Tibet, east of Lhasa.
- 2012: At least 60 people died in a landslide at a gold mine in north-east Congo.
- 2010: 33 miners were trapped after a cave-in occurred at a gold and copper mine in Chile's northern Atacama desert. They were rescued after surviving 69 days at the bottom of the mine, 700m below the surface.
- 2010: 29 men were killed after a huge gas-fuelled explosion occurred deep underground in New Zealand's worst mining disaster in decades.
- 2009: 108 Chinese miners died after an explosion in a mine near Hegang in Heilongjiang province. The majority of some 500 miners working there were rescued.
- 2007: At least 90 were killed after a blast in a coal mine near Ukraine's eastern city of Donetsk.
- AFP, Reuters