Death toll increases to 284 in Soma mining accident

Thursday, May 15, 2014

"It is our duty to find all our miner brothers and deliver them to their families," Yildiz said

ANKARA - The death toll from the Soma mine fire disaster has reached 284 after another dead miner was pulled from the mine, Turkey's Energy Minister Taner Yildiz has said in a press conference early Friday.

The minister thanked the coal miners' families for their solidity during the search and rescue operations.

"It is our duty to find all our miner brothers and deliver them to their families," Yildiz said.

Yildiz reiterated the call for families to reach for the officials to identify the bodies pulled out from the coal mine.

The minister also said 114 coal mines have been shut down for the past three years due to lack of safety inspections.

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

Yildiz earlier ruled out the possibility of firedamp or a methane gas explosion, saying the deaths were due to carbon monoxide poisoning.

The exact cause of the blast has yet to be officially announced but it is suspected that an explosion and fire followed an electrical fault. Yildiz ruled out the possibility of firedamp or a methane gas explosion, saying the deaths were due to carbon monoxide poisoning.

Turkey has declared three days of national mourning, during which flags will fly at half-mast and parliament will be closed for the victims of what is being described as one of the worst mining accidents in the country's history.

Mines and stone quarries appear as some of the most dangerous places for Turkish workers, according to government statistics.

More than 3,000 people have died and more than 100,000 have been injured in mining accidents since 1941 in Turkey, figures from Turkey's statistics agency show.

Copyright © 2014 Anadolu Agency