The death toll in the Soma coal mine disaster has risen to 301 with all bodies of the miners trapped underground now thought to be accounted for. “The rescue operation was carried out to completion. There are no miners left underground," said Taner Yildiz, the Turkey’s Energy Minister on 17 May.
Finding out what happened in the coal mine
Efforts will now concentrate on finding out what caused the disaster. Turkey’s Anadolu new agency reporting that four people have already been arrested in connection with the incident, including the operating manager at the Soma Coal Mining Co., two engineers and the mine’s security chief. Twenty-five people were initially detained.
The mine’s operator has denied any negligence, blaming the disaster on an unexplained build up of heat in the mine.
Protests banned as community anger remains
Meanwhile, local government have reportedly banned protests in the Soma region amid continued anger at the government’s reaction to the disaster and its track record on mine safety. This follows the use of water cannon and tear gas to disperse protestors on Friday trying to reach statue honouring miners in Soma.
The Soma death toll is the worst in Turkish history, surpassing the 263 miners killed in gas explosion in Kozlu in the north of the country.
Written by Jonathan Rowland
Read the article online at: https://www.worldcoal.com/coal/19052014/soma_coal_mine_disaster_death_toll_passes_300_coal857/