Hundreds Dead or Trapped in Turkey Mining Disaster

May 16, 2014

 

Early reports out of the western Turkish town of Soma, has the death count from a coal mine explosion at 200 and counting. On Tuesday evening, an explosion ripped through the coal mine with an estimated 878 people inside. Most of the deaths have occurred from exposure to carbon monoxide poisoning.

 

As rescuers searched the scene for survivors, one miner named Turgut Sidal told a French news agency, "This isn't something that suddenly happens. There are people dying. People who are injured and it's all because of money. People are dying, and there's nothing we can do about it. They send us like lambs to the slaughter. We're not safe doing this job".

 

At a press conference held on Wednesday, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip told reporters that at least 238 workers had been killed and 80 injured with approximately 120 others still believed to be trapped in the mine.

 

Rescue officials warn the death toll could climb higher since those trapped in the mine are close to a quarter mile beneath the surface and won't be able to escape the shafts because the explosion cut the mine's power rendering the elevators unusable. The longer the miners are trapped, the longer they will be breathing in deadly carbon monoxide.

 

While the company in charge of the coal mining site, SOMA Komur Isletmeleri A.S. has said it practices the highest safety measures and constant controls, miners around the scene said minor explosions had happened before and it was only a matter of time before something big happened. Violent protests broke out in the town following the explosion.