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An explosion in a Turkish mine has left 238 dead and 200 others still trapped under the fiery rubble. The accident, which highlights Turkey’s poor record on worker safety, could become the nation’s worst mining disaster ever.

The blast, which triggered a fire, occurred shortly after 3 pm on Tuesday in the town of Soma.

“We are heading towards this accident likely being the deadliest ever in Turkey,” Energy Minister Taner Yildiz told reporters at the scene.

Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan declared three days of national mourning.

Officials said the fire was still burning underground on Wednesday, which miners said was hampering the rescue effort. Yildiz said 787 workers were in the mine at the time of the blast, but hopes of finding many alive are dimming as the day continues.

In the meantime, rescue workers continue the search, pumping oxygen into the mine to try to keep those trapped by the blaze alive, as thousands of family members and co-workers gathered outside the town’s hospital.

Prime Minister Erdogan offered his condolences to the families of those who died and said there’s “a sadness shared by the whole population of our country.”

We’ll keep you updated on the latest in the rescue effort.

SOURCE: Reuters | VIDEO SOURCE: News Inc.

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