Written by Staff Writer
14 May, 2014 | 11:15 am
An explosion at a coal mine in western Turkey has left at least 201 workers dead and scores injured, officials say.
Energy Minister Taner Yildiz said 787 people had been inside the mine at Soma in Manisa province when an electrical fault triggered the blast.
Rescuers worked through the night to try 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 80 people had been injured.
He said that of the workers inside the mine at the time of the accident, only about 360 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 electrical fault triggered a power cut, making the mine cages unusable. Those trapped are reported to be 2km (1.2 miles) below the surface and 4km from the mine entrance.
The blast happened at about 12:30 GMT on Tuesday. Initial reports said 17 people had died but the death toll leapt later in the day.
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.
Police were keeping the crowds back to allow emergency services in and out of the area.
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