Turkey mine disaster: firm claims 'unprecedented' fire

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Mining company says system measurements were normal 5 minutes before Tuesday's disaster which killed 284 workers

Mining company says system measurements were normal 5 minutes before Tuesday's disaster which killed 284 workers

IZMIR - An 'unprecedented' fire was behind Tuesday's mining disaster in Turkey's west, said Soma Mining Inc, the owner of the mine in Soma district which has seen the worst mining accident in Turkish history.

In a statement late Thursday, the company described the fire as "inexplicable" from a technical standpoint, and said its reasons would only become clear after a thorough probe.

"Unfortunately, an inexplicable fire that has never been witnessed before took place in our enterprises", it said. "The reasons behind the fact that the fire spread faster than normal conditions, despite all safety measures taken, will be clear after a detailed investigation. ”

The statement said all data were recorded as normal by the measurement mechanisms five minutes prior to the fire.

The mine, made up of pathways 10-km long in total, has 3,000 workers and has been run by the company since 2009.

The disaster struck on Tuesday in the Soma district of western Manisa province after a fire broke out inside a mine, trapping nearly 800 workers underground. The death toll is feared to rise as some still remain stranded.

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