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    May 15, 2014

    Death toll in Turkey mine blast tops 200... and counting


    RESCUERS battled yesterday to reach hundreds of workers feared trapped after an explosion at a mine in western Turkey that has killed at least 205 people in one of the worst industrial disasters to hit the country.

    As Turkey declared three days of national mourning for the victims, Energy Minister Taner Yildiz said the toll could rise to exceed the 263 workers killed in the country's worst mining disaster.

    "It is developing into an accident with the highest worker death toll Turkey has seen so far," he told reporters.

    Mr Yildiz said 205 miners had been confirmed dead after Tuesday's blast at the mine at Soma, in Manisa province.

    He declined to say how many people remained trapped in the mine, although earlier reports said 787 workers were underground when the blast occurred.

    Tuesday's explosion was believed to have been triggered by a faulty electrical transformer.

    Hundreds of people gathered around the explosion site as rescuers brought out injured workers.

    Arum Unzar, a colleague of the missing miners, said "this is enormous". "All the victims are our friends," he said as he wept.