28 prosecutors to probe Turkey mine disaster

Friday, May 16, 2014

Turkey's highest judicial body appoints 28 prosecutors to investigate the country's worst-ever mining disaster

Turkey's highest judicial body appoints 28 prosecutors to investigate the country's worst-ever mining disaster

ANKARA – Turkey’s top judicial body has appointed 28 prosecutors to coordinate investigations over the Soma mining disaster, in which 284 people have reportedly died.

Prosecutors from surrounding cities and towns have been appointed by the High Council of Judges and Prosecutors to oversee the post-mortem operations on bodies brought out from the Soma mine.

The disaster is the deadliest in Turkey’s history, surpassing an explosion of firedamp -- a flammable gas found in coal mines – that killed 263 miners in Zonguldak in 1992.

Turkey’s Energy Minister Taner Yildiz said the deaths in Soma, a district in western Manisa province, were due to carbon monoxide poisoning.

What caused the blast inside the mine is yet to be determined, but suspicions are centered on an explosion and fire which resulted from an electrical fault.

Yildiz said any negligence on the part of officials or the company managing the mine would be punished. 

In a press conference on Friday, Soma mine managers denied claims of negligence and said they took all necessary measures to prevent such an incident.

They said in a written statement earlier that the disaster was “inexplicable” from a technical standpoint and unprecedented for the industry with respect to its causes.

Mines and stone quarries appear as some of the most dangerous places to work in Turkey, according to government statistics.

Since 1941, more than 3,000 people have died in Turkey and more than 100,000 have been injured in mining accidents, figures from Turkey's statistics agency show.

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