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Over 160 killed in Turkish coal mine explosion

Updated: 2014-05-14 07:21 (Xinhua/Agencies)

Over 160 killed in Turkish coal mine explosion

An injured miner is carried into a hospital in Soma, a district in Turkey's western province of Manisa May 13, 2014. [Photo/Agencies]

ISTANBUL -- Turkey's energy minister has raised the death toll from an explosion and fire at a coal mine in western Turkey on Tuesday to 166. Some 200 people are still believed trapped inside the mine.

Energy Minister Taner Yildiz said early Wednesday that 787 people were working inside at the time of the accident in the privately-owned coal mine in Soma, some 250 kilometers (155 miles) south of Istanbul.

He says 80 mine workers were injured and at least four of them are in serious condition.

The Soma Coal Mining Company, the mine's operator said that they inspected the mine's facilities only two months ago and found nothing against regulations.

The explosion occurred at a power distribution unit two km below the surface, which caused the mine's elevator to stop working.

Reports said a fire broke out after an explosion caused by an electric fault. Nearly 600 workers were inside the mine, and while workers were changing their shift, a transformer exploded. Only 280 of them were said to have escaped.

The latest incident is one of the numerous mining accidents that Turkey has had in recent years. Accidents, cave-ins, and explosions have claimed the lives of dozens of mine workers yearly.

Last December, four miners, who were reportedly working at an unlicensed coal mine for 60 Turkish Liras (about 30 US dollars) were killed in the Zonguldak province after an accident.

According to the Chamber of Mining Engineers of Turkey, 80 accidents took place in Turkish mines in 2012, which killed 61 people and injured 91 others.

Since 1955, at least 3,053 Turks have been killed and 326,208 others injured in mine accidents in the country.

Over 160 killed in Turkish coal mine explosion Over 160 killed in Turkish coal mine explosion Over 160 killed in Turkish coal mine explosion

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