MORE than 200 miners have died as a huge explosion ripped through a coal mine in Turkey.
A massive rescue operation is continuing today to try and free hundreds more still trapped underground.
Energy ministry Taner Yildiz said 787 people had been inside the mine at Soma in Manisa province when an electrical fault triggered the blast.
Hundreds of relatives have gathered near the privately owned mine and at a local hospital waiting for news on loved ones.
Cheers erupted as more survivors were brought out of the mine to safety. Air is being pumped into the mine to help those still trapped to breathe.
Mr Yildiz said that carbon monoxide poisoning had already claimed many lives.
He said that of the workers inside the mine, only about 360 of them – including those killed – had been accounted for.
The explosion took place more than a mile below the surface and over two miles from the pithead.
One of Turkey’s worst mining accidents took place in Zonguldak, when more than 250 miners lost their lives in 1992.