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Archive for Saturday, June 3, 2006

Toll from gas explosion in mine rises to 17

June 3, 2006

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— The death toll from a methane gas explosion in a Turkish coal mine rose to 17 on Friday after firefighters, troops and miners worked through the night to recover the bodies.

Another five miners were hospitalized with methane gas poisoning and 35 escaped unharmed. The blast collapsed one of two shafts in the mine near the western town of Dursunbey in Balikesir province late Thursday.

"We heard a big bang and dust covered everywhere; there was an intense smell of gas," Dogan News Agency quoted one of the hospitalized miners, Ibrahim Demirbas, as saying. "All of the dead were our friends. They were burned to death."

The owner of the private coal mine, Erhan Ortakoylu, said the explosion occurred nearly 500 feet below the surface.

Officials worked through the night under floodlights to pull out the bodies of the dead.

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