274 dead in Turkey's worst-ever mine disaster

In a relentless procession that ignited wails of grief, rescue workers coated in grime lumbered out of a mine in western Turkey again and again today, struggling to carry stretchers laden with bodies covered in blankets.

The corpses' faces were as black as the coal they worked on daily. There were 274 of them - and the fate of up to 150 other miners remained unclear in Turkey's deadliest-ever mining disaster.

While emergency workers battled a toxic mix of carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide in deep underground tunnels to try to find survivors, anger and despair engulfed the town of Soma, where Turkish officials said at least 274 miners died in Tuesday's coal mine explosion and fire.

Tensions were high as hundreds of relatives and miners jostled outside the mine's entrance Wednesday, waiting for news. They were countered by a heavy police presence.

Rows of women wailed uncontrollably and men knelt sobbing or just stared in disbelief as rescue workers removed body after body. To let off steam, some heckled Turkish officials, including Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, as they passed by.

Energy Minister Taner Yildiz said 787 people had been inside the coal mine at the time of yesterday's explosion: 274 had died, 363 had been rescued and scores of them were injured.

The death toll topped a 1992 gas explosion that killed 263 workers near Turkey's Black Sea port of Zonguldak.

It also left 150 miners still unaccounted for. Erdogan said today that 120 miners were still missing. There was no immediate way to reconcile the differing figures.

Rescuers were still trying to vent out the carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide and pump clean air into the mine, according to mine owner Soma Komur Isletmeleri A S.

Yildiz said rescue workers were trying to reach the bodies of 20-22 people trapped in one specific zone. Some of the workers had been up to 420 meters deep inside the mine, he said.

Post new comment

E-mail ID will not be published
CAPTCHA
This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.

EDITORIAL OF THE DAY

  • Signalling good times, current account deficit is likely to grow from here on

    The current account deficit (CAD) numbers for April-June quarter declined sharply to 1.7 per cent of GDP.

FC NEWSLETTER

Stay informed on our latest news!

INTERVIEWS

GV Nageswara Rao

MD & CEO, IDBI Federal Life

Timothy Moe

Goldman Sachs

Chander Mohan Sethi

CMD, Reckitt Benckiser India

COLUMNIST

Arun Nigavekar

Disruptive innovation in education

The past two weeks had a fair share of interesting ...

Rajgopal Nidamboor

Regain the spirit of focused power

For aeons, the human race has been experimenting with a ...

Gautam Gupta

Manufacturing must keep workers’ welfare in mind

It may be early days yet, but the labour reforms ...

INTERVIEWS

William D. Green

Chairman & CEO, Accenture