(SOMA, Turkey) -- More than 200 coal miners in western Turkey were killed by an explosion and fire Tuesday as frantic efforts continue to try and save dozens of men trapped 500 yards underground.
According to Turkish Energy Minister Taner Yildiz, 80 miners who were evacuated suffered injuries. A total of 787 workers were inside the mine at the time of the accident.
Most of the fatalities were caused by carbon monoxide poisoning. Meanwhile, fresh oxygen is being pumped to the men trapped inside the mine about 150 miles south of Istanbul.
The mine owner, SOMA Komur Isletmeleri A.S., has promised an investigation into the accident, and claims it uses the "highest safety measures and constant controls."
Turkey’s deadliest coal mining accident occurred in the Black Sea province of Zonguldak in 1992 when 263 workers were killed by a gas explosion.
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