Ankara (ANTARA News/Xinhua-OANA) - Turkey has declared three days of national mourning for victims of a coal mine explosion on Tuesday (May 13) that killed at least 205 people and left hundreds more trapped underground, the prime ministers office said Wednesday.

The accident happened in a mine in the western province of Manisa, where a fire broke out following an explosion in a power distribution unit. Most of the victims died of carbon monoxide poisoning, said Minister of Energy Taner Yildiz.

The disaster occurred in the privately-owned mine in the district of Soma during a shift changeover. The fire broke out 150 meters underground, Yildiz said.

Yildiz said that 363 miners of the 787 who were working underground have been accounted for, including the deceased.

Rescue efforts continued throughout the night, but hopes of finding more survivors are diminishing.

The accident has sparked widespread anger as many denounced poor safety measures, accusing the government and mine companies of "negligence."

Mining accidents kill dozens of miners each year in Turkey.

The worst mining tragedy in Turkey occurred in 1992, when a fire and explosion killed 263 people. The second and third worst took place in 1983 and 1990, leaving 103 and 68 dead respectively in methane gas explosions.

(T.C003/C/C003/C003) 14-05-2014 17:44:26

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