TURKEY-MINE-BLAST
A man kisses his son who was rescued from the mine, May 13, 2014.  Bulent Kilic—AFP/Getty Images

238 Dead, Hundreds Trapped in Turkish Coal Mine

May 14, 2014

Updated: May 14, 9:13 a.m. EST

The death toll caused by an explosion at a coal mine in Turkey on Tuesday has risen to at least 238, the country's prime minister said on Wednesday. An estimated 200 people are believed to be still trapped inside as of early Wednesday.

Turkish Energy Minister Taner Yildiz said early Wednesday that 787 people were working in the mine when the accident occurred, the Associated Press reports. Yildiz also said that carbon-monoxide poisoning was the cause of most fatalities. A local administrator said the explosion and fire were caused by a power-distribution unit.

“Time is working against us,” Yildiz said, noting that close to 400 people were involved in the recovery efforts, which had rescued 363 of the miners so far.

An official told NBC News that rescue teams were inside the mine, providing oxygen to those still trapped.

The company that owns the mine, located in Soma, approximately 250 km (155 miles) south of Istanbul, confirmed that some of its workers were killed but would not give a specific number. The poor safety conditions of Turkey's mining industry make accidents common.

[AP]

An injured miner came out carried by rescuers, on May 13, 2014 after an explosion in a coal mine in Manisa.
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An injured miner came out carried by rescuers, on May 13, 2014 after an explosion in a coal mine in Manisa.Bulent Kilic—AFP/Getty Images
An injured miner came out carried by rescuers, on May 13, 2014 after an explosion in a coal mine in Manisa.
A miner use his lighter as miners wait at the gate of a mine after an explosion in Manisa on May 13, 2014.
Miners wait at the gate of a mine after an explosion in Manisa on May 13, 2014.
An injured or death miner is carried by rescuers after an explosion in Manisa on May 13, 2014.
A miner with his father after an explosion on May 13, 2014 in Manisa.
A woman cries as she waits for a news on May 14, 2014.
An injured miner came out carried by rescuers after an explosion in Manisa on May 13, 2014.
People cry after their relatives died in an explosion in Manisa on May 13, 2014.
Family members and miners gather around ambulances waiting outside a coal mine in Soma, western Turkey, early Wednesday, May 14, 2014.
A miner reacts after being affected with toxic gas while searching for co-workers who remain trapped underground on May 14, 2014 after an explosion and fire in their coal mine in the western Turkish province of Manisa.
Turkish prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan visits the site where 120 workers were believed to remain trapped in a mine after a deadly explosion that claimed the lives of of well over 200 people on May 14, 2014 in a coal mine of the western Turkish province of Manisa.
A woman reacts as she searches for relatives while rescuers carry out dead miners on May 14, 2014.
People gather, searching for their relatives, as rescuers carry out bodies of dead miners on May 14, 2014 after an explosion and fire in a coal mine in the western Turkish province of Manisa.
Miners change their clothes in an outside building after searching for hours hundreds of their co-workers who remain trapped underground on May 14, 2014 after an explosion and fire in their coal mine in the western Turkish province of Manisa.
Boats of miners are pictured in an outside building after searching for hours hundreds of co-workers who remain trapped underground on May 14, 2014 after an explosion and fire in their coal mine in the western Turkish province of Manisa.
People sit near graves in a cemetary in Manisa on May 14, 2014, dug for the funeral of miners killed in a mine blast the day before in the western Turkish province of Manisa.
Turkish people mourn in a cemetary in Manisa on May 14, 2014, during the funeral of miners killed in a mine blast the day before in the western Turkish province of Manisa, of which the death toll hit 245.
People dig graves for miners in a cemetery during the funeral ceremony of miners who died in an explosion on May 15, 2014, in the western town of Soma in the Manisa province.
Duygu Colak, reacts as she sits in front of her husband Ugur's grave during a funeral ceremony in the western town of Soma in the Manisa province on May 15, 2014.
People mourn in a cemetery during the funeral ceremony of miners who died in an explosion on May 15, 2014, in the western town of Soma in the Manisa province.
An injured miner came out carried by rescuers, on May 13, 2014 after an explosion in a coal mine in Manisa.
Bulent Kilic—AFP/Getty Images
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