Skip to main content

Transformer explodes in Turkish coal mine; 201 die in fire

By Talia Kayali, Gul Tuysuz and Michael Martinez, CNN
updated 3:48 AM EDT, Wed May 14, 2014
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: Official death toll grows rapidly, now at 201 people
  • More than 200 workers are still stranded, disaster agency says
  • Clean air is reaching parts of the mine where there is no fire, says energy minister

(CNN) -- A fire caused by a transformer explosion in a coal mine in western Turkey killed 201 people, Turkish Energy Minister Taner Yildiz told reporters early Wednesday.

The Natural Disaster and Emergency Coordination Directorate said 80 injured people have been rescued and eight uninjured people were rescued. Crowds gathered around the rescue operation in the post-midnight darkness Wednesday.

Earlier, Manisa Mayor Cengiz Ergun told CNN Turk that the death toll was 157. CNN Turk aired the rescue of one miner to a cheering crowd.

More than 200 workers were still stranded late Tuesday, according to preliminary findings by Turkey's Manisa Natural Disaster and Emergency Coordination Directorate.

Friends and relatives of dead miners pray at a cemetery on Saturday, May 17. The search for victims of this week's coal mine fire in Soma is now over, with a final death toll of 301, Turkish government officials said Saturday. Friends and relatives of dead miners pray at a cemetery on Saturday, May 17. The search for victims of this week's coal mine fire in Soma is now over, with a final death toll of 301, Turkish government officials said Saturday.
Coal mine disaster in Turkey
HIDE CAPTION
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
>
>>
Photos: Coal mine disaster in Turkey Photos: Coal mine disaster in Turkey
Families hold vigil outside Turkish mine

Ergun said 30 workers had been rescued, but he earlier said as many as 400 workers might still be underground.

The mine shaft is about two-thirds of a mile -- or 1 kilometer -- underground, the disaster agency said.

A member of Parliament from Manisa said 16 people were being treated for injuries. The dead and injured seemed to be suffering from burns and suffocation, said Muzaffer Yurttas.

About 100 rescuers, dozens of ambulances and a helicopters were dispatched to the scene, officials said.

"The rescue teams are very experienced," said Yildiz, the minister. "They know what they need to do."

In the initial moments after the blast, "it was important for there to be clean air going underground," Yildiz said. Officials turned an exit pipe "into a clean air pipe," so "there is fresh air being given in places where there is no fire," he added.

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, speaking in Ankara, said the country is working "to rescue our stranded brothers."

2 West Virginia coal miners killed

CNN's Dana Ford contributed to this report.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 11:28 AM EST, Tue December 30, 2014
With the discovery of debris from the AirAsia plane, investigators move closer to discovering what happened. What are the key questions, and what comes next?
updated 11:40 AM EST, Tue December 30, 2014
The growth of AirAsia has been a regional aviation success story. The reason behind the loss of Flight QZ 8501 will be key to whether passengers start to shun it, says Alan Khee-Jin Tan.
updated 5:45 AM EST, Fri February 7, 2014
They say there are no stupid questions -- but are there? How about, "Do you speak African?"
updated 9:39 AM EST, Wed December 31, 2014
The year of outrage also applies to China's Internet users in 2014.
updated 8:21 AM EDT, Sat August 16, 2014
One man swims among sharks without the protection of a cage to make studio-quality, intimate photos of the sea creatures.
updated 6:50 AM EST, Tue December 30, 2014
Using a technology that has been around for 130 years, a company called Pavegen hopes to create electricity from everyday human activities.
updated 12:06 PM EST, Tue December 23, 2014
Tim Berners-Lee, the man credited with inventing the world wide web, gives a speech on April 18, 2012 in Lyon, central France, during the World Wide Web 2012 international conference on April 18, 2012 in Lyon.
What's next for the Internet? Acclaimed scientist and fatherof the World Wide Web Sir Tim Berners-Lee shares his insights.
updated 7:45 AM EST, Tue December 30, 2014
Gone are the days of grainy phone images with the resolution of a poor imitation Monet.
updated 4:00 PM EST, Mon December 22, 2014
A chilling video shows Boko Haram executing dozens of non-Muslims.
updated 12:45 PM EST, Mon December 29, 2014
"The year in pictures" treks across the globe, looking back on the events that shaped 2014.
updated 11:07 AM EST, Mon December 29, 2014
Each day, CNN brings you an image capturing a moment to remember, defining the present in our changing world.
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.
ADVERTISEMENT