Seven people arrested over Turkey mine disaster

Monday, May 19, 2014

General manager, operating manager, three security chiefs and two engineers from Soma Coal Mining Company held in custody

General manager, operating manager, three security chiefs and two engineers from Soma Coal Mining Company held in custody

MANISA - Seven people have been arrested following Turkey's mining disaster last Tuesday in the western town of Soma which killed 301 people. 

The general manager of the company operating the mine, Ramazan Dogru, was arrested on Monday.

Dogru, who was present at the company’s press conferences last week, is the highest official to be investigated along with Soma Coal Mining Company CEO Can Gurkan, who is also the son of the owner, Alp Gurkan.

Two security chiefs were also arrested on Monday after Soma Coal Mining Company operating manager Akin Celik, engineers Yalcin Erdogan and Ertan Ersoy, and security chief Yasin Kurnaz were taken into custody on Sunday following a court hearing. 

The arrests came after 25 people, including company executives, were detained and questioned.

- 'Reckless killing'

They are accused of "causing the reckless killing of more than one person.” 

Prosecutor Bekir Sahiner said on Sunday that, according to a preliminary report on the incident, a malfunction of an electrical transformer did not cause the May 13 disaster, as had been speculated.

Rescue operations in the mine ended on Saturday after the bodies of the last two miners trapped underground were found, bringing the total of number of fatalities to 301.

The disaster was the deadliest mining incident in Turkey's history, surpassing the death toll of a firedamp explosion that killed 263 miners in Zonguldak in 1992.

Dozens of prosecutors have been assigned to oversee post-mortem examinations.

More than 480 workers survived the Soma disaster.

Copyright © 2014 Anadolu Agency