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Deadly Turkey blast 'traps hundreds'

May 13, 2014 6:29 pm

At least 17 people have been killed after an explosion and fire at a coal mine in western Turkey, officials say.

Hundreds were reported to be trapped underground at the mine in Soma, Manisa province, but Turkish media suggest as many as 157 have died.

A huge rescue operation has begun and some 20 people are reported to have been brought out so far.

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Turkish President Abdullah Gul has ordered the regional governor to deploy all resources to rescue the miners.

They are thought to be 4km (2.4 miles) from the entrance, at a depth of 2km.

While it is estimated that 580 workers were underground at the time of the blast, it is thought many of them managed to escape.

Union officials said as the blast occurred at shift changeover time, there was uncertainty about how many miners were still inside, Reuters news agency reports.

Large crowds of worried family members gathered near the privately-owned mine.

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