UK
14/05/2014 03:25 BST | Updated 14/05/2014 05:59 BST

Turkish Mine Explosion Death Toll Passes 200 But Hundreds Still Missing (VIDEO)

The confirmed death toll in a mine blast in western Turkey has surpassed 200, with hundreds still missing.

The disaster, which happened on Tuesday afternoon in the town of Soma, is believed to be one of the worst mining disasters in the country's history, with 201 confirmed dead so far.

Energy Minister Taner Yildiz said 787 people were inside the coal mine, which is around 155 miles south of Istanbul, at the time of the accident.

A total of 363 of them had been rescued so far, the Associated Press reported. A total of 80 people were reported rescued but some had serious injuries.

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Hundreds of miners remain unaccounted for

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Alive: One of the miners is attended to by medical staff

Yildiz said carbon monoxide poisoning had killed many people, the BBC reported, adding oxygen was being pumped into the mine to help those still trapped.

In a statement to Sky News, the mine's owners, Soma Komur, said the explosion was "a tragic accident" which happened "despite maximum safety measures and inspections".

The broadcaster reported the pit was last inspected on March 17 and was found to be compliant with safety regulations.

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Distraught relatives are lead away from the scene

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Injured miners are carried away from the blast site

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Sena Isbiler, a mother of one of the miners, told the Associated Foreign Press: "I have been waiting for my son since early afternoon. I haven't heard anything about him yet."

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said he had postponed a trip to Albania over the accident and will visit Soma instead.

The country's worst mining disaster was 22 years ago, when a gas explosion killed 270 workers near the port town of Zonguldak in 1992.

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