UK & World News

  • 18 May 2014, 17:04

Mining Bosses Arrested After Turkish Tragedy

Police have detained 18 people, including mining company executives, as part of an investigation into Turkey's mine disaster.

A preliminary report on the accident, which was obtained by the Milliyet newspaper, pointed to safety violations in the mine, including a shortage of carbon monoxide detectors and support beams made of wood instead of metal.

The tragedy occurred in Soma, 300 miles south-west of Istanbul, on Tuesday when a fire sent deadly carbon monoxide through the mine, operated by Soma Komur.

Bosses deny any negligence.

"We have all worked very hard," said general director Akin Celik. "I have not seen such an incident in 20 years."

The Dogan news agency says Mr Celik was among those detained, along with general manager Ramazan Dogru.

Two final bodies were carried out of the mine on Saturday as the rescue operation ended, taking the number of dead to 301.

The tragedy triggered protests across the country about poor industry safety procedures.

Riot police used tear gas and water cannon on protesters in Soma on Friday as several thousands gathered amid intensifying anger with the government.

Officers then set up checkpoints and arrested dozens on Saturday to try to enforce a ban on protests. Security remained tight on Sunday.

Families dispute the death toll and have accused the government of a cover-up to hide the true scale of the disaster.