Turkey: Deaths rise to 284, 122 rescued injured. 18 trapped in coal mine explosion/ongoing fire in Soma, Manisa province – Updated 160514 1335z

Update 16 May 2014 1308 UTC :

President Gl visits Soma amid protests

May 15, 2014, Thursday/ 17:15:17/ TODAY’S ZAMAN/ ISTANBUL

President Abdullah Gl speaks to reporters during his visit to Soma mining. (Photo: Today’s Zaman)

President Abdullah Gl traveled to Soma, in western Turkey, on Thursday after the mining town was hit by a disaster that left at least 283 miners dead and was met by angry protests from relatives of the victims.

Gl’s first stop was Akhisar State Hospital, where he visited those who were injured in the incident. Gl wished them a speedy recovery and said he is praying to God that such incidents never take place again. The president was accompanied by Parliament Speaker Cemil iek and Health Minister Mehmet Mezzinoğlu.

There are 10 injured miners in the hospital and they are in good condition.

Gl, who stayed in the hospital for 30 minutes, left the area under tight security measures.

A woman staged an angry protest as the president’s official car was leaving the hospital. The woman, identified as Hlya Akaydın, said: You shameless people, may God damn you. May you burn violently.”

After leaving Akhisar, Gl went to Soma to visit the site of the incident.

Access to the mine entrance was controlled by gendarme roadblocks several kilometers away ahead of the visit by Gl, as gendarmes searched cars.

The president, who cancelled a visit to China after the mine disaster, visited the surroundings of the mine along with iek and was briefed by Energy Minister Taner Yıldız, Health Minister Mezzinoğlu, and Family and Social Policy Minister Ayşenur İslam about the search and rescue efforts and the situation of the injured. The president also spoke with relatives of the miners who were waiting for their loved ones and offered his condolences to the relatives of the victims.

Some had still not received any information about their loved ones and booed the president. One accused the president of hindering the rescue efforts.

Esteemed president, rescue teams cannot enter the mine because of you. We don’t need police here, we need rescue teams. We still cannot get the dead bodies out, he said.

A victim’s mother, whose name was not available, spoke to Gl in person and asked for his help to find her son.

My beloved son lies underground. There is still no news from him. They [rescue teams] stopped working just because the president has come. There are efforts to hide negligence, but there is obvious negligence, the mother told reporters.

Making a statement from the mine area, Gl, who looked upset and had a trembling voice, said Turkey’s loss is very great and there are lessons Turkey needs to take from this disaster.

We need to join hands in order to heal the wounds here and show a big example of solidarity, the president said as he offered his condolences to the victims’ families.

Undoubtedly, such pain should not be experienced again. Just like developed countries minimized such pain [caused by mine disasters], we need to review our regulations and take the necessary measures, he said.

Gl also noted that the State Audit Institution (DDK), tied to the presidency, will provide an outline of measures that need to be taken to prevent similar tragedies in mines.

An administrative and judicial investigation has been launched into the incident, said the president, promising that it will be carried out meticulously.


HĂĽrriyet Daily News:

Company admits there was no refuge chamber in Soma mine, but vows to continue operations

Soma Holding head Ali Grkan is seen during a press conference May 16, three days after the deadly disaster. AA Photo

Soma Holding head Ali Grkan is seen during a press conference May 16, three days after the deadly disaster. AA Photo

The operator of the Soma mine has denied any negligence in the worst mining disaster in Turkeys history, while admitting that a refuge chamber that could have saved lives had not yet been constructed. Nevertheless, Soma Holding head Ali Grkan vowed to continue operating the mine after shortcomings are addressed in the wake of the May 13 disaster.

There was no negligence on our side. I have worked in mines for 20 years, and I did not witness such an incident [here on May 13], said Akın elik, the operating manager of the Soma Coal Mining Company, during a press conference May 16.

Asked if the company would continue to operate the mine, Grkan said: “Of course. After all the measures are taken and the missing room [for the refuge chamber] is built, this operation will continue. Legally, we don’t have an obligation to build a refuge chamber. But we would have completed it in three-four months if this accident hadnt happened.”

No refuge chamber, but escape point

The officials have admitted that there was no refuge chamber in the mine, but added that there was an escape point close to ground level, allowing workers to exit without walking the 300 meters to the main entrance.

When the facility was first established, there was one refuge room that could host 500 people at the center of the mine, but it was closed when production ended in that area of the mine.

As the production area was moved to a deeper part of the mine, preparations were underway to build refuge rooms there, according to the executives.

If the accident had happened three or four months later, the construction of refuge rooms would have been finished and the workers would have survived, the company claimed.

Reason remains unknown

Officials have accepted that they do not know the reason of the accident, describing the fire as being technically inexplicable.

The cause of the fire was heated coal, and no flames erupted at a power distribution unit in the mine, they said.

The incident happened in three to five minutes. The gas filled everywhere in five minutes, elik added.

Grkan, also said they had made the necessary investments to ensure the safety of workers. We have spent our income to improve working conditions to avoid possible accidents, Grkan said, while refusing to answer questions from journalists.

I am in severe pain. People who know me would understand, he said, noting that he had health issues.

elik also confirmed that there were 787 workers inside the mine when the disaster occurred. He said that 363 workers managed to escape the mine after the accident, while another 122 were rescued injured and transferred to nearby hospitals.

elik also confirmed a previous statement by Energy Minister Taner elik who said 18 miners remained trapped inside the mine.

Officals have declined to provide a list of the 787 workers, saying they do not have the authority to release it publicly as all data has been delivered to Turkeys disaster agency, AFAD.

No child workers

Another senior company official, Celalletin Gkaşan, has categorically rejected claims that they employed child workers or subcontracted workers.

There are no foreign, minor or subcontracted workers, Gkaşan said, answering to widespread criticism about the companys alleged mismanagement of the mine.

Cemal Yıldız, who perished in the disaster, was originally said to be 15, but his family subsequently revealed that he was 19 at the time of death. According to Yıldız’s Facebook account, however, he started working in the mines in 2011, meaning he had been employed illegally at the age of 16.

Along with the compensation required by law, there is a program to give more support to the families of victims, Grkan said.

While the scale of the project is yet to be determined for the moment, the company will cover the education tuition of the victims children and other costs, he added.

The Soma coal mine, which is the regions biggest facility employing up to 6,500 workers, was privatized at the end of the 1970s.


Update 14 May 2014 0720 UTC :

Turkey Mine Blast: 201 Dead And Toll May Rise

Hopes are fading for hundreds of miners trapped underground, as relatives wait anxiously at the surface for news.

Workers wait outside a mine in Soma, Turkey, following an underground explosion

Oxygen is being pumped into the mine to help those trapped

At least 201 miners have been killed after an underground explosion and fire in western Turkey.

The countrys energy minister Taner Yildiz�said 787 workers were in the mine at the time of the blast, which is thought to have been caused by an electrical fault.

Hundreds are still trapped in shafts and tunnels up to 2.5 miles (4km) from the nearest exit. He said 80 miners were injured and at least four of them are in a serious condition.

Mr Yildiz�said�rescue effort is now reaching a critical stage, with hopes fading for the those still trapped.

Workers wait outside a mine in Soma, Turkey, following an underground explosion
Many of the miners were coughing and covered in dust as they were rescued

The blast in Soma, some 155 miles (250km) south of Istanbul, is one of the worst mining disasters in Turkish history.

It is reported the fire is still burning underground, hampering rescue efforts.

Fresh air is being pumped into the pit to help workers who may be struggling to breathe, amid fears they could suffer carbon monoxide poisoning.

Dozens of miners have been rescued or made their own way out

TV pictures showed rescued miners coughing and spluttering as they were pulled out alive, their faces coated with black dust.

Relatives waited anxiously at the entrance to the mine, cheering and applauding each successful rescue.

But according to journalist Doran Jones fear has already turned to anger among the relatives of many of those lost.

He told Sky News previous accidents have been reported at the mine and the safety record of operator Soma Komur�has been called into question.

Worried relatives rush to the mine complex in the town of Soma

Mr Jones said one miner had told him he felt like a lamb to the slaughter every time he went to work.

Miner Oktay�Berrin told new Agency AFP�workers were not protected underground.

In a statement, the mines owners, Soma Komur, described the explosion as a tragic accident which happened despite maximum safety measures and inspections.

The incident took place in the town of Soma, in the province of Manisa
The explosion happened in Turkeys western Manisa province

According to Turkeys ministry of labour, the pit was last inspected on March 17 and was found to be compliant with safety regulations.

The accident happened when a power distribution unit exploded about 1.2 miles (2km) beneath the surface, according to Nurettin Akcul, head of the Turkish Mineworkers Union.

It is thought it happened during a change of shifts, leading to confusion over the exact number of workers still inside.

The countrys worst mining disaster was in 1992, when a gas explosion killed 270 workers near the Black Sea port of Zonguldak.

Turkeys Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has postponed a one-day visit to Albania and is heading to the scene. Sky News

South Africa: 11 illegal miners rescued from abandoned gold mine shaft in Benoni nr Johannesburg, unknown number refuse to come up fearing arrest – 160214 1725z

Latest: About 10 miners have been rescued alive, more are coming up rapidly

(1554z – Alex Crawford Sky News)
Embedded image permalink

(Crane being moved into position to remove a large boulder)

Emergency and rescue services have been busy for over six hours trying to free trapped illegal miners outside Benoni CBD on Johannesburgs East Rand.

It is understood they were trapped since early yesterday.

Since early this morning paramedics and rescuers joined forces to set up a plan on how to free them. Numerous heavy duty rescue vehicles and equipment was brought to the old mine shaft to stabilise the ground.

Shortly before 15:00 rescue workers managed to lift the first large rock from the small opening and are hopeful that they will be able to reach some of the miners in die course.

According to local Ekhuruleni Metro Police they were patrolling the open veld for illegal dumping when they heard the cries for help. Upon further investigation they found the illegal miners trapped beneath several layers boulders. The officials then called for rescue services.

Rescue services have since tried to remove the boulders and managed to remove one large boulder. They have also tried to send bottles of water down to the trapped miners.

According to the miners, which can only be verbally communicated with, there are 30 of them trapped in the top section and another 200 odd in another section below them. However this is still difficult to confirm.

Disaster vehicles and law enforcement officials have staged on the scene awaiting the miners. They will be assessed and treated should they have any injuries. The police will also be involved.” – ER24 Emergency Services February 16, 2014 15:25 (SA Time)

Update 1557z:

“Emergency workers have succeeded to gain access to the illegal miners trapped underground in Benoni.


Several miners have been brought to surface. As they are being lifted out of the one squared meter hole they are escorted to the medical station where they are checked for any injuries. Once they are cleared they are taken into custody by the local police and EMPD.


It still remains unclear if there is any truth in what the miners have told rescuers that several others are trapped in a separate section of the mine. Once the first group have been brought to the surface, rescue workers will make their way down to inspect and search for other miners.

An eight hour joint affront between numerous services made it possible to rescue these miners” – ER24 Emergency Services February 16, 2014 17:53(SA Time)

Embedded image permalink

(Rescue teams setting up to start securing the site)

Embedded image permalink

(Heavily armed officers present at the illegal mine in Benoni. Rescue has begun. ER24 on scene and ready)

Embedded image permalink

(Aerial view of mine rescue in of illegal miners)

Embedded image permalink

(Crane being moved into position to remove a large boulder)

Embedded image permalink

(Aerial view of mine rescue)

Embedded image permalink
(First illegal miner just surfaced)

Embedded image permalink
(First two miners rescued so far. ER24 on scene ready to treat the injured)

Embedded image permalink
(Another miner rescued. ER24 assessing the miners before being handed over to SAP)

Other Reports

“Rescuers are communicating with a group of about 30 miners trapped by fallen boulders below the surface at the old mine site in Benoni.

Rescue services in South Africa are trying to reach more than 200 illegal miners reported trapped underground in an abandoned gold shaft in a suburb just east of Johannesburg, an emergency services spokesman said on Sunday.

Werner Vermaak of ER24 emergency services said rescuers were communicating with a group of about 30 miners trapped by fallen boulders below the surface at the old mine site in Benoni.

They told us there are about 200 others trapped further below, Vermaak said.

Its an abandoned mine shaft in the middle of the public veld (open fields) … it was not a blocked-off area, he added. No injuries or casualties had been reported so far, Vermaak said.

Heavy equipment had been brought in to try to remove the boulders obstructing the shaft.

Illegal mining of abandoned shafts is common in South Africa, where informal miners excavate mineral ore to be sold to buyers, often living underground in dangerous and precarious conditions. Fatal accidents are common, and underground battles between rival groups have also been reported.

The illegal diggers also sometimes invade active mines. At least 82 men – thought to have been illegal miners – died after an underground fire at a Harmony gold mine in South Africa in 2009.” – khaleejtimes.com/Reuters

Ireland: Woman rescued from disused mine shaft in Co Sligo – 050513 2240z

Sligo: Benbulbin, Glencarbury Barite Mine (Photo: Copyright Michael Murtagh Creative Commons Licence)

“A 53-year-old woman has been rescued from a disused mine shaft in Co Sligo this afternoon.

The woman had been walking with a group of people near Glencarbury mine north of Sligo town.

She decided to go into the old mine which had previously been boarded up.

The woman stumbled and fell down about 30 or 40 feet into the shaft of the old barytes mine and landed in water.

One of her walking companions managed to get down into the shaft and pull her on to a ledge.

A rapid response team from Sligo/Leitrim Mountain Rescue hauled the woman up out if the shaft.

She was suffering from hypothermia and has been taken to Sligo Regional Hospital where she is understood to be in a stable condition.

Separately, a 66-year-old woman is being treated in hospital after falling off a cliff in Co Antrim this afternoon.

The Sligo Coastguard helicopter was involved in the rescue operation to rescue the woman who had fallen into an “inaccessible” area off the coast of Carrick-a-Rede.

The woman who sustained serious injuries to her leg was lifted to safety and taken to hospital at around 3pm.” – RTE

China mine rescues: 21 miners killed, 22 still missing in 2 colliery disasters- 130313 1145z

22 remain missing in China colliery disasters

(Photo: qatarchronicle.com)

12:57, March 13, 2013

GUIYANG/HARBIN, March 13 (Xinhua) — Search and rescue efforts continued Wednesday for 22 miners who were trapped in two separate colliery disasters in China.

As of 10 a.m., four miners remained missing in a pit of southwest China’s Guizhou Province, where an outburst of coal and gas killed 21 people Tuesday night.

The accident happened at around 8 p.m. at Machang Coal Mine, which belongs to Gemudi Company of Guizhou Water & Mining Group.

Eighty-three miners were working in the pit, with 58 escaping.

Jiang Liangquan, head of the rescue team, said the bodies of the 21 who died had been retrieved. “The missing four are probably buried under rocks.”

He said rescue efforts were difficult as the toxic gas density in the shaft remained high.

The mine reports an annual output of 450,000 tonnes.

Meanwhile, search and rescue efforts are still ongoing for 18 miners who remain trapped in a mud-rock flow accident that happened Monday in Heilongjiang Province in northeastern China.

The accident was reported at 2:30 p.m. at a shaft of the Zhenxing Coal Mine in Hegang City. It trapped 25 people and only seven of them have been saved.” – peopledaily.com.cn

Eighteen miners are still trapped underground at a coal mine in northeast China.

State media reported on Tuesday that mud and rocks fell into the mineshaft where they were working.

It happened in the state-run Zhenxing Coalmine in Heilongjiang Province.

Twenty-five miners were trapped at about 2:30pm local time on Monday.

Seven miners working near the shaft entrance were rescued, according to state run media.

The trapped miners were working one third of a mile underground when the mud and rockslide began, blocking the shaft.

Local officials said more than 200 rescuers have been mobilized.

Yan Lizhang, Deputy Chief Engineer, Heilongjiang Mining: “We are trying to restore the conveyors inside the shaft so we can carry out the rescue. Our goal is to rescue the trapped miners at all costs.”

CCTV reported that an investigation into the cause of the incident is underway, but no details have been released.

Wednesday, 13 March, 2013 at 04:18 (04:18 AM) UTC RSOE

5 killed, 5 missing in landslide at huge coal mining pit in central Philippines


5 pinatay, 5 nawawala sa pagguho ng lupa sa malaking hukay sa pagmimina ng karbon sa sentro ng Pilipinas

MANILA, Pilipinas – Isang pader ng ​​isang malaking karbon-mining hukay gumuho sa central Pilipinas, pagpatay ng hindi bababa sa limang manggagawa at burying walong iba, ang mga opisyal ng sinabi Huwebes.

George San Pedro ng Semirara Pagmimina Corp, na nagpapatakbo sa minahan ng karbon sa Semirara Island sa lalawigan ng Antique, sinabi ng tatlong mga tao ay rescued pagkatapos guho struck sa paligid ng hatinggabi. Kumpanya simula na iniulat ang mga opisyal ng tatlong patay ngunit sinabi dalawang higit pang mga katawan ay nabawi mamaya Huwebes, nagdadala ng plegarya sa limang, na may limang iba pa rin nawawala.

Ang mga manggagawa ay paglalaan ng pahinga mula sa 24-oras na pagpapatakbo ng pagmimina kapag ang guho ang pindutin, ang mga opisyal ng sinabi. Hukay ay kabilang sa pinakamalaking mina ng bansa.

Company opisyal itinigil ang pagpapatakbo ng pagmimina upang matiyak ang kaligtasan ng mga manggagawa at payagan ang isang pagsisiyasat sa kung ano-set-off ang guho, sinabi San Pedro.

Regional pulis chief Agrimero Cruz Jr sinabi ito ay rained sa kamakailang mga araw ngunit ito ay hindi malinaw kung ang panahon ay iniambag sa guho. Walang mga pangunahing lindol na nakita kamakailan sa Antique, tungkol sa 350 kilometro (215 milya) sa timog ng Manila.

Sinabi ng Office of Civil Tanggulan rehiyonal director Rosario Cabrera ang mga pulis at iba pang mga awtoridad ang co-ordinating sa Semirara Pagmimina Corp upang makatulong na iligtas ang mga nawawala na miners.

Coal Mountain

MANILA, Philippines – A wall of a huge coal-mining pit collapsed in the central Philippines, killing at least five workers and burying eight others, officials said Thursday.

George San Pedro of the Semirara Mining Corp., which runs the coal mine on Semirara Island in Antique province, said three people were rescued after the landslide struck around midnight. Company officials initially reported three dead but said two more bodies were retrieved later Thursday, bringing the death toll to five, with five others still missing.

The workers were taking a break from the 24-hour mining operations when the landslide hit, officials said. The pit is among the country’s largest mines.

Company officials halted mining operations to ensure the safety of workers and allow an investigation of what set off the landslide, San Pedro said.

Regional police chief Agrimero Cruz Jr. said it has rained in recent days but it was unclear whether…

View original post 51 more words

Nigeria: 9 miners killed in gold mining pit collapse – 081112 1410z

At least nine illegal miners have been reported to have lost their lives when a mining pit collapsed on them at Dogon Daji village of Maru Local Government Area, Zamfara State.

One of the illegal miners, who gave his name as Shafiu Abdullahi, told the Nigerian Tribune that before the tragedy, the miners would have dug about N2.3 million worth of gold.

He disclosed that the incident occurred around 5.00 a.m. on Tuesday, when the miners were digging at one of the mining sites at Dogon Daji village Abdullahi told the Nigerian Tribune that they were about to observe their morning prayer when some people rushed to the mosque shouting for help.

“We rushed to the mining site and found out that the mining pit had collapsed and there were 10 people buried underground.”

According to him, it took the rescuers more than nine hours to bring out the bodies of the dead miners.

“When we brought them out around 2.00 p.m., nine of them were already dead, except one Mallam Hussaini Maikifi, who was rescued and rushed to the General hospital Maru,” Abdullahi said.

As of press time, it was gathered that the illegal miners had deserted the site.

Thursday, 08 November, 2012 at 04:06 (04:06 AM) UTC RSOE

Three dead in Haripur as mine caves in (Pakistan)

Coal Mountain

Three miners were buried alive when a coal mine collapsed in Bagh Dara village in Haripur district, police and villagers said on Friday.

The miners were engaged in illegal excavation despite a warning by the mines department, Assistant Superintendent of Police Ghazi Wahid Mehmood said.

He added that the three miners were excavating raw coal from the mine that was leased out to a contractor named Lal Khan by the minerals department. He added that the contractor had been warned against digging in risky areas.

However, ignoring the warning, the contractor would excavate during the night. On Thursday night, when three miners were digging, the mine collapsed on them. All the three mine workers were killed on the spot. Their colleagues retrieved the bodies after an effort of three hours and were preparing to hand over to their heirs without informing the police.

The contractors took the bodies to their…

View original post 62 more words

India: Hope runs out for Meghalaya’s trapped coal miners – Published 13 July 2012 1003 GMT/UIC

The National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) team on Friday called off the operation to rescue 15 miners trapped in a flooded coal pit in Meghalaya since July 6, an official said.

The miners got trapped in a mine in South Garo Hills district last week on Thursday after they accidentally punctured the wall of an abandoned mine, filling their mine with gallons of water.

“The NDRF has called off their operation expressing their inability to rescue the miners as the team members could endanger themselves inside the flooded mine, which is on the verge of collapse,” Davies R. Marak, the district police chief of South Garo Hills, said.

(Photo: zoclips.blogspot.co.uk)
Meghalaya Coal Mine
(Click photo for source)

The special team, which began its rescue operation on Thursday morning, had brought all necessary equipment to pull out the men from what are called “rat-hole” mines, but to no avail.

“Scuba divers did make their attempt to enter inside the coal pit but the formation of toxic gas in the pit has forced them to come out,” Marak said.

However, district authorities would continue to pump out the water and make all efforts to rescue the trapped miners, Marak said. “I don’t think there will be any survivor and if anyone of them comes alive from the pit it will be only a miracle.”

The NDRF is a unit created by the government for specialised response to natural and manmade disasters.

Ten water pumps have been deployed to pump out the water from the mine.

Three people have been arrested by Meghalaya Police on charges of negligence – mine owner Kudon A. Sangma, Punjab-based mine operator Gurdeep Singh and the head of the labourers identified as “captain”.

Meghalaya has a total coal reserve of 640 million tonnes. The coal is high in sulphur content and is mostly of sub-bituminous type.

Most of this coal reserve is mined unscientifically by individuals and local communities. Due to unscientific coal mining, the water sources of many rivers, especially in Jaintia Hills district, have turned acidic.

Mining activities in Meghalaya are controlled by the indigenous people of the state who own the land.

The coal is extracted by primitive surface mining method called “rat-hole” mining that entails clearing ground vegetation and digging pits ranging from five to 100 sq.m. to reach the coal seams.

Workers and children go deep into these holes and extract the coal using traditional tools. Makeshift bamboo ladders take miners down into the pits to chip away through two-feet-high tunnels.

Once the coal has been extracted these mines are abandoned and left exposed in several instances in the state. In Cherrapunjee, once famous for its heaviest rainfall, environmental abuse has almost reduced the region to a barren landscape.

The region is now pockmarked by abandoned “rat hole” coal mines and barren hills. Similar is the case in other districts of Meghalaya.

The high-sulphur, sub-bituminous coal is used primarily for power generation and as a source fuel in cement plants in India and Bangladesh – The Times of India

A recent study reveals that coal mines in Jaintia Hills of Meghalaya employed 70,000 child miners who were abducted from Nepal and Bangladesh and sold to Meghalaya’s mining mafia. These children are forced to work into deep pits exposing them to fatal health hazards.

(Photo: southasia.oneworld.net)
CHILD Worker at Meghalaya
(Click photo for source)


Children brought from Nepal and Bangladesh form part of the workforce in unscientific, ecology-threatening coal mines of Meghalaya, a study by a Shillong-based NGO revealed on Thursday.

The study was conducted across 10 coal mines of Jaintia Hills district in August last year. Impulse, the NGO, had collaborated with the global Aide et Action in interviewing 200 labourers aged below 18 years and documenting their experience. – southasia.oneworld.net

It’s not known how many of the fifteen trapped miners are minors…..