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Coal mine explosion traps hundreds in Turkey

- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Rescuers were rushing, but hopes were fading and time was ticking Wednesday on the fate of hundreds of coal workers who were trapped inside a mine in Turkey that exploded in a fiery ball.

More than 200 were thought to still be trapped, emergency responders said, USA Today reported. A total of 787 had been working inside the mine, located 155 miles outside Istanbul, when it exploded late Tuesday.

At least 363 had been brought to safety, said Energy Minister Taner Yildiz, in USA Today. Another 80 or so were injured, four seriously, he added.

He also said the fire started due to an electrical fault, and that it was still blazing.

"Regarding the rescue operation, I can say that our hopes are diminishing," Mr. Yildiz said, USA Today reported.

The mine disaster could prove the worst in the nation's history, officials say.

SOMA Komu Isletmeleri A.S., the company that owns the mine, said several employees had been killed — mostly due to carbon monoxide poisoning — but did not release the actual number, USA Today reported.

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