A horrific explosion and fire at a coal mine in western Turkey killed 201 workers, wounded 80, and trapped scores of others underground Tuesday.
Turkish Energy Minister Taner Yildiz said some 787 people were working inside the coal mine in Soma, roughly 155 miles south of Istanbul. He said 363 workers had been rescued so far and that a fire was still burning inside the mine.
At least 80 miners were injured, including four who were in serious condition, Yildiz told reporters in Soma, as he oversaw the rescue operation involving more than 400 rescuers.
The country’s disaster agency said it had launched a large rescue operation.
Local administrator Mehmet Bahattin Atci told the Associated Press a power distribution unit caused the blast.
The rescue teams were inside the mine, providing oxygen to the trapped miners, who were two kilometers below ground, an official told NBC News.
Mining accidents are common in Turkey, which has substandard safety conditions, according to the AP.
—Aziz Akyavaz and Elizabeth Chuck
First published May 13 2014, 9:00 AM