Search and rescue continue at Turkish coal mine

Nearly 1,300 health and search-and-rescue workers to continue operations in town of Soma after mine disaster

Nearly 1,300 health and search-and-rescue workers to continue operations in town of Soma after mine disaster

ANKARA - Search-and-rescue operations and psychological rehabilitation activities involving 1,289 personnel are being kept on in the town of Soma following the coal mine fire which has claimed 283 lives so far.

Turkey's Disaster and Emergency Management Presidency (AFAD) issued a statement on Thursday saying the operations were continuing and the number of specialized mining search-and-rescue workers from the Turkish Hardcoal Institution had been increased to 596, while psychological support staff and medical personnel had been upped to 693. 

"Search-and-rescue personnel who were also routed from AFAD provincial directorates located in Manisa, İzmir, Balikesir, Usak, Denizli, Afyon, Sakarya, the National Medical Rescue Team and 112 Emergency Squad," the statement read.

The presidency stated that 693 support personnel and overhead personnel were in Soma to support rescue activities, in addition to search-and-rescue staff from the AFAD, General Staff, Family and Social Politics, Presidency of Religious Affairs, and the Municipalities of Manisa, İzmir, Balikesir, Usak and Denizli.

"Search-and-rescue operations and psychological rehabilitation activities are being kept on with 234 vehicles, containing 52 road ambulances, an ambulance helicopter, a plane and a mobile coordination vehicle," the AFAD said.

- Electrical fault suspected

Other materials and equipment have been delivered to the disaster area including two trucking rigs equipped with toilet, shower and sleeping quarters from the Sakarya governorship, three tents for general usage and mobile toilet with a capacity of six people from İzmir and Afyon AFAD provincial directorates.

Seventeen shelters for general use, 400 blankets, four generators, two compressors, a lighting unit, a mobile kitchen and 250 waistcoats and pairs of boots, have also been provided.

"GSM operators which are in service in Turkey established 10 mobile base stations to provide uninterrupted communication service," the statement read.

The exact cause of the blast has yet to be officially announced, but an electrical fault is suspected of creating an explosion and fire.

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