Over 150 miners have been confirmed killed and hundreds more remain trapped in an underground coal mine in Turkey after an explosion ripped through the mine at 12.30pm last night (local time).
Efforts to rescue the trapped miners are well underway with crews attempting to pump clean air into the shaft containing the men, located approximately two kilometres underground and four kilometres from the entrance. However thick smoke is hampering rescue efforts.
According to the ABC, Turkey’s Energy Minister, Taner Yildiz, said a total of 787 mine workers were underground at the time of the explosion with 212 evacuated shortly after the incident.
“Time isn’t in our favour,” the Minister told local media.
A faulty electrical transformer is being blamed for triggering the explosion at the mine located in the Soma district of Turkey.
Hundreds of people have gathered at the site looking for news of family and friends who work at the mine.
Turkey’s Department of Labour and Social Security issued a statement saying the mine was last inspected on March 17 and was found to be compliant with safety regulations.