May 18, 2014 5:45 pm
Updated: May 18, 2014 5:46 pm

25 detained, 3 charged in Turkish mine disaster


Watch Above: Protests in Istanbul over Turkey mining disaster.

ISTANBUL, Turkey – A Turkish prosecutor says 25 people have been detained and three charged with negligence in the mining disaster that killed 301 people.

Prosecutor Bekir Sahiner says the three were also charged with the crime of causing the death of more than one person.

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In a news conference in Soma on Sunday, where the disaster took place, he said six of those detained have been released.

READ MORE: Turkish search operations called off after last missing miners found

Government and company officials have insisted that the mine was inspected regularly and negligence was not a factor. But reacting to widespread public anger, government officials promised to investigate and pledged that any mine officials found to be negligent would be prosecuted.

The Milliyet newspaper said Saturday that a preliminary report by a mine safety expert who inspected the Soma mine suggested that smouldering coal caused the mine’s roof to collapse. The report said the tunnel’s support beams were made of wood, not metal, and the mine had too few carbon monoxide sensors.

READ MORE: Turkish miner who survived says company to blame

Company officials have described safety standards as high, noting that the mine contained 50 gas sensors and employees were provided gas masks.

At a press conference Friday, Celik said thick smoke from the underground fire killed many miners who were not carrying gas masks. Rescue workers entering the mine complained of high levels of carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide.

On Saturday, rescue workers retrieved the bodies of the last two miners missing in the disaster, putting the death toll at 301, Energy Minister Taner Yildiz said.

© 2014 The Canadian Press

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