Turkey mine blast kills scoresUpdated: 2014-05-14 11:56:49 (KST)
At least 201 people are confirmed dead and more than 200 others are believed to be trapped after an explosion at a coal mine in western Turkey.
The blast happened early Tuesday, local time, at a privately-owned mine in the town of Soma, some 2-hundred-50 kilometers south of Istanbul.
Local officials believe the collapse came after a power distribution unit exploded during a shift change, which they explain for the confusion about the number unaccounted for.
Turkey's energy minister says close to 800 people were inside the mine at the time of the accident.
Three-hundred-63 people have been rescued so far.
The country's disaster agency has launched a massive rescue operation.
Air is being pumped into the mine, which sits approximately two kilometers below ground.
Hundreds of people have been gathering at a hospital in Soma, and at the accident site for news about their loved ones.
Rescue workers are facing a difficult task, as the mine was made up of long tunnels.
The owner of the mine says his facility was run with the "highest safety measures and constant controls."
He added the main priority was getting the trapped workers out so they may be reunited with their families.
The disaster is poised to be the worst mining disaster in Turkey since 1992, when 2-hundred-63 miners lost their lives in a gas explosion.
Mining accidents are common in Turkey, due to poor safety conditions.
Shin Se-min, Arirang News.
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