Over 200 Killed in Turkish Mine Explosion

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Over 200 people were killed today after an explosion in a coal mine in Soma, Turkey. Rescue efforts are still underway, but this could be Turkey's worst mining accident ever, and among the worst mine disasters in history.

The death toll, first just 17, rose sharply as the day wore on. It now stands at 201 dead and 75 injured, according to Al Jazeera. At least 363 people have been rescued so far, according to the AP. These numbers could (and probably will) change as more information becomes available.

Nearly 800 people (or 600, according to the town's mayor) were in the mine when there was an explosion, followed by a fire. The Guardian, which noted that "mining accidents are common in Turkey," said the explosion is believed to be caused by some kind of electrical problem. Many of the deaths are from carbon monoxide poisoning, and rescuers have been pumping oxygen into the mine for the 200 or so workers believed to still be trapped there. We still don't know if the fire is still burning or not.

Turkey's worst mining accident was in 1992, when an explosion killed 270 people. Depending on the condition of the people still trapped in the mine, this could exceed that.

Update, 9:54 p.m.: The death toll has been raised to 166 and the numbers above changed to reflect that. A New York Times article provided some more information: the fire blocked exits from the mine, making escape impossible for many.

Update, 10:38 p.m.: The AFP says the death toll has been raised to 201, and hundreds are still trapped underground. The numbers above have been changed to reflect this.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.