Death Toll in Turkish Coal Mine Blast Rises to 282

World | May 15, 2014, Thursday // 09:43
Bulgaria: Death Toll in Turkish Coal Mine Blast Rises to 282 People mourn for their relatives after the mine explosion near Soma, Manisa province, Turkey, 14 May 2014. Photo by EPA/BGNES

The death toll in the in the coal mine explosion and fire in western Turkey has increased to 282, according to Turkish Energy Minister Taner Yildiz.

The government said 787 people had been inside the coal mine in Soma when an electrical fault triggered the blast soon after midday on Tuesday. A total of 363 were rescued.

Most of the victims died of carbon monoxide poisoning.

Eighty of those rescued are receiving treatment for injuries.

Rescuers are still searching for over 100 workers believed to be trapped underground.

Three days of mourning for the victims of the coal mine explosion began on Thursday.

Meanwhile, the mine disaster caused trade unions in Turkey to organize a one-day strike, claiming that the recent privatisation of the mining sector had made working conditions more dangerous, according to reports of BBC News.

The Soma mine was privatised in 2005.

The disaster also sparked anti-government protests in Soma, as well as Istanbul and the capital, Ankara. There were clashes between protesters and police and a number of arrests ensued.

Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan was booed and urged to resign after a news conference on the mining disaster.

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Tags: Turkey mine, explosion, coal mine, anti-government protests, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, privatizaiton, trade unions

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