Turkish Mine Fire Kills 200, Traps Many More

Soma, a small rural mining town in Turkey’s east is currently playing host to one of the gravest mine disasters Turkey has ever seen. On May 13th, a power transformer within the mine exploded causing smoke, fire, and debris to funnel its way down deeper into the mine’s shafts. While the initial blast and subsequent fires have already claimed the lives of more than 200 people, there are an additional 150-200 people still believed to be trapped in the mine and awaiting search and rescue teams.

The trapped miners have only had to survive little more than a day in the mine and are believed to be in a part of the mine where they are receiving oxygen, but rescuers are no closer to reaching them now than they were a day ago. As lifeless body after lifeless body is dragged from the mine, families, friends, and even fellow miners are beginning to see hope slip away.

The survivors, assuming they are still alive in the depths of the mine, are unable to be reached due to the utter inaccessibility a burning mine presents. Even when first responders took time to eradicate some of the fire, the heat and lack of oxygen was simply too overwhelming for rescuers to venture into the deeper parts of the mine shaft safely. Now, conditions are a little bit better than what they were after the initial blast, but are still far from favorable.

Chances of Survival Diminishing Quickly

The unaccounted for miners’ chances of survival all depend on what they did in the moments following the blast. In the mine there are multiple safe areas where miners can equip themselves with oxygen masks and seal themselves off from the rest of the mine and thus, the poisonous gases produced by the fire. If, in fact, miners were able to make it to these safe areas quickly enough, they may survive this ordeal after all. Despite families and friends beginning to give up hope, rescue teams are still tirelessly working to make the mine safe enough for them to venture into.

With all this in mind, smoke was still seen rising out of the ground on Wednesday, indicating that there are still fires burning within the mine. If the miners never made it to the safe areas this ordeal will soon transition from being a rescue effort to being a recovery effort.