Written by News 1st
14 May, 2014 | 7:58 am
An explosion at a mine in western Turkey has left 151 workers dead and scores injured, officials say.
Energy Ministry Taner Yildiz said 787 people had been inside the mine at Soma in Manisa province when an electrical fault triggered the blast.
A huge rescue operation is under way to reach hundreds more miners still trapped underground.
Worried relatives have gathered near the privately owned mine, about 450km (280 miles) west of the capital Ankara.
Mr Yildiz confirmed the latest death toll on Turkish TV and said some 76 people had been injured.
He said that of the workers inside the mine at the time of the accident, only 363 of them – including those killed – had been accounted for.
Mr Yildiz said that carbon monoxide poisoning had claimed many lives. Oxygen was being pumped into the mine to help those still trapped, he added.
The explosion happened more than a mile underground and the electrical fault triggered a power cut, making the mine cages unusable.
The mayor of Manisa city earlier said 157 people had died, following initial reports that put the death toll at just 17.
TV footage showed rescuers helping workers from the mine, their faces and hard-hats covered in soot and dust. Some were carried on stretchers to waiting ambulances.
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