274 Dead in Turkey's Worst-Ever Mine Disaster - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe News Weather, Video -

274 Dead in Turkey's Worst-Ever Mine Disaster

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Turkish Energy Minister Taner Yildiz says the death toll in a coal mining accident has reached 274, making it the country's worst mining disaster ever.
Tuesday's explosion in the western town of Soma tops a 1992 gas explosion that killed 263 workers near Turkey's Black Sea port of Zonguldak.

The deaths were caused by carbon monoxide poisoning, officials said.

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said the tragedy would be investigated to its "smallest detail" and "no negligence will be ignored." He discussed rescue operations with authorities, walked near the entrance of the mine and also comforted two crying women. Earlier, Erdogan declared three days of national mourning, ordering flags to be lowered to half-staff.

Energy Minister Taner Yildiz said 787 people were inside the coal mine in Soma at the time of Tuesday's explosion and 363 of them had been rescued.

The explosion tore through the mine as workers were preparing for a shift change, officials said, which likely raised the casualty toll because there were more miners inside than usual.
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