Turkey Ends Mine Search With Death Toll at 301
Anger among miners, families still rising
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted May 17, 2014 10:08 AM CDT
Two women pray at the graves of victims in Soma.   (AP Photo/Emre Tazegul)
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(Newser) – Turkey's energy minister says rescue workers have completed their search in Turkey's worst mining disaster after retrieving the bodies of the last two missing miners. Taner Yildiz said today that the death toll from the May 13 explosion and fire that devastated a coal mine in Soma is 301. He said 485 miners escaped or were rescued. "All corners of the mine were searched by a large team, and there was no other body or living person." Now the focus will turn to investigating what happened, he said.

Government and mining officials have insisted that the disaster was not caused by negligence and that the mine was inspected regularly. But many miners and their families disagree, leading to protests in which riot police used tear gas. "The company is guilty," says one miner, adding that managers had machines that measure methane gas levels. "The new gas levels had gotten too high and they didn't tell us in time." Electrical engineers have accused the mine owners of negligence and "murder."