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Turkey mine disaster highlights poor safety record

Wednesday, May 14, 2014 - 02:02

May 14 - The mine explosion in western Turkey that has claimed well over 200 lives so far could become the nation's worst worst ever mining disaster, prompting calls from the opposition to investigate poor safety standards. Mana Rabiee reports.

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One by one, the injured are carried out from this mine in western Turkey. The quiet on Wednesday morning, broken by the occasional wail from a loved one. The death toll from Tuesday's mine explosion in the town of Soma is well over 200. Hundreds more may still be trapped inside. Overnight, families clamored outside a hospital for news. (SOUNDBITE) (Turkish), MINER, SUAYIP OZCAN SAYING: "We had been working in a mine over-ground nearby. We saw everything from there. We saw the ambulances and people waiting" (SOUNDBITE) (Turkish) UNIDENTIFIED MINER'S RELATIVE SAYING: "I have two relatives in the mine. We have been waiting since this afternoon and we are still here, no one is giving us any information" Freezer trucks now serve as makeshift morgues, as hospitals overflow with the dead. Teams of psychiatrists are arriving to help counsel the families. This could become the nation's worst ever mining disaster. From the Vatican, Pope Francis sent his prayers for the victims. But in the Turkish parliament, an angry tone. Something should have been done to prevent this, an opposition figure said. (SOUNDBITE) (Turkish) OPPOSITION REPUBLICAN PEOPLE'S PARTY DEPUTY FOR MANISA REGION, OZGUR OZEL, SAYING: "In Soma, there are continuous explosions in mines and in those explosions, we lose our workers. Our parliamentary questions were: "We inspected 10 times. We've found 66 flaws. They were fined." Result? New explosion, new losses." A fire was still burning underground on Wednesday, hampering rescue efforts. Oxygen was being pumped into the mine to keep those trapped by the blaze alive. The disaster highlights Turkey's poor record on worker safety. It's drawn renewed calls from the opposition to investigate safety standards at previously state-run mines.

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Turkey mine disaster highlights poor safety record

Wednesday, May 14, 2014 - 02:02