USA TODAY -- An explosion and fire in a coal mine in western Turkey killed at least 166 workers and left some 200 more trapped deep inside, officials said Tuesday.
A massive rescue operation was underway at the mine in Soma, Turkey, about 150 miles south of Istanbul.
Turkish Energy Minister Taner Yildiz updated the death toll and number of missing after earlier saying 787 people were inside the coal mine at the time of the accident and 363 of of them had been rescued.
He said 80 mine workers were injured, at least four of them in serious condition.
He said most of the deaths were from carbon monoxide poisoning, and those trapped were nearly 500 yards underground..
"Time is working against us," Yildiz said.
The blast happened during a change in shifts, leading to uncertainty over the exact number of workers still in the mine, the Turkish news agency Cihan reported, citing labor union officials.
Yıldız said the fire was triggered by an electrical fault.
NBC News reported that rescue teams were inside the mine, providing oxygen to the trapped miners.
Television video showed people cheering as some workers emerged from the mine covered in soot.
Authorities were preparing for the possibility that the death toll could jump dramatically, making arrangements to set up a cold storage facility to hold corpses, AP reported.
The rescue was complicated by miles of underground tunnels within the mine, said Cengiz Ergun, leader of Manisa province where the mine is located.
Police set up fences and stood guard around the state hospital where the injured were taken.
SOMA Komur Isletmeleri A.S., which owns the mine, confirmed that a number of its workers were killed but would not give a specific figure, AP reported. The company said the accident occurred despite the "highest safety measures and constant controls" and that an investigation was being launched.
"Our main priority is to get our workers out so that they may be reunited with their loved ones," the company said in a statement.
The English-language Turkish newspaper Today's Zaman reported that the fire knocked out electricity inside the mine. It said workers are pumping fresh air into the smoke-filled mine to get oxygen to trapped workers.
Mining accidents are common in Turkey, where safety conditions are sometimes poor. In 1992, a gas explosion killed 263 mine workers near the Black Sea port of Zonguldak.
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan postponed a trip to Albania on Wednesday and to visit Soma.
Hundreds of people gathered outside the mine and the hospital in Soma seeking news of their loved ones. NTV television said people broke into applause as rescued workers arrived in ambulances. Interviewed by Dogan news agency, some complained about the lack of information from state and company officials about the situation of the trapped workers.
"The rescue teams are very experienced," Yildiz said, according to CNN. "They know what they need to do."
Contributing: Associated Press