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Desmond Butler and Suzan Fraser of The Associated Press report Grief, Sadness and Shock as Hundreds Perish in Turkish Coal Mine.

Rescuers desperately raced against time to reach more than 200 miners trapped underground Wednesday after an explosion and fire at a coal mine in western Turkey killed at least 201 workers, authorities said, in one of the worst mining disasters in Turkish history.

Energy Minister Taner Yildiz said 787 people were inside the coal mine in Soma, some 250 kilometers (155 miles) south of Istanbul, at the time of the accident and 363 of them had been rescued so far.

In addition to 201 workers killed, at least 80 miners were injured. the deaths were caused by carbon monoxide poisoning caused by a fire in a power distribution unit. ... Authorities say the disaster followed an explosion and fire caused by a power distribution unit.

Mining union leader Nurettin Akcul told Turkish television that this was probably the worst mining accident in Turkey' history.  

"Time is working against us. We fear that the numbers could rise further," Yildiz said. "We have to finish this (rescue operation) by dawn. I have to say that our pain, our trouble could increase."

Butler and Fraser report mining accidents are common in Turkey due to poor safety conditions. Turkey needs stronger government regulations to create safer working conditions and protect workers from unsafe working conditions created by mine owners who apparently do not invest enough in worker safety.

This is he kind of world the Tea Party and Republicans apparently want to live in when they harp on the virtues of free market capitalism and rail against government regulations.

Our sympathies to the families of the miners who have died in this horrible accident. May they rest in peace. Our prayers and best wishes for the safe recovery of the miners who are still trapped in the mine.  

Originally posted to HoundDog on Tue May 13, 2014 at 11:16 PM PDT.

Also republished by WE NEVER FORGET and In Support of Labor and Unions.

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