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Turkish mining disaster kills more than 200

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Another Turkish mining disaster has occurred. The mine disaster in Soma, Turkey was caused by an explosion and the fire that followed. Soma is located about 155 miles south of Istanbul, according to a Huffington Post report on Wednesday morning.

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erodogan made the official announcement regarding the mining disaster when he visited Soma on Wednesday. Energy Minister Taner Yildiz announced that 787 people had been inside the coal mine at the time the explosion occurred. So far, 363 of the miners had been rescued. He admitted that hopes of rescuing others were diminishing. At last count, 57 persons had been confirmed as being injured – four of those persons being in serious condition. Unfortunately, the explosion occurred during a shift change which means more persons were in the mine than usually would have been, according to a Wednesday New York Times report.

Demonstrators organized outside the Soma Holding’s headquarters. Soma Holding is the company that owns the mine where Turkey’s latest mining disaster has occurred. Reportedly, mining accidents are quite common in Turkey which is known for having poor safety conditions regarding its coal mines. This latest disaster is nearly matching the country’s worst mining disaster which occurred 22 years ago when a gas explosion killed 263 workers near Zonguldak which is a Black Sea port.

Regarding the latest tragedy, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared three days of national mourning. During the mourning for the victims, flags are being lowered to half-staff. The president of Turkey has postponed his one-day visit to Albania so that he can visit Soma today instead. The United States Embassy in Ankara, Turkey, issued a statement stating its condolences which included the message that the embassy is following the mining disaster in Soma with great sadness.