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Pope Francis calls for prayers for victims of Turkish mine disaster

By on Thursday, 15 May 2014

People carry the  coffin of one of the victims of the mining disaster in Soma, Turkey (PA)

People carry the coffin of one of the victims of the mining disaster in Soma, Turkey (PA)

Pope Francis offered prayers for the victims of the explosion in the mine in Soma, 120 kilometres from Esmima, Turkey, during yesterday’s General Audience.

The explosion on Tuesday caused the pit to collapse leaving an estimated 282 dead. The Turkish government have said that 363 people were rescued from the mine shortly after the explosion, but around 150 miners reportedly remain missing.

“I invite you to pray for the miners who died yesterday in the mine of Soma, in Turkey, and for those who are still trapped in the tunnels. May the Lord welcome the deceased to His home and give comfort to their families,” said Pope Francis to the crowd in St Peter’s Square.

Trade unions in Turkey have announced a one-day strike in protest at the country’s worst ever mine disaster Union officials claimed the recent privatisation of the mining sector had made working conditions more dangerous.

Turkey’s president Abdullah Gul is expected to visit the scene of the disaster as the country starts three days of mourning.

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