Search ends at Ermenek mine as bodies of remaining five victims recovered
Rescue workers on Dec. 4 carry the body of a miner who was killed in the Ermenek mine flooding. AA PhotoThe bodies of the remaining five victims at the Ermenek coal mine were recovered overnight on Dec. 3, ending 38 days of painstaking search efforts.
Eighteen miners were trapped inside the galleries of the Central Anatolian facility after an underground flood, drawing the country’s focus back to the perilous safety conditions of mine workers six months after the disaster at a coal mine in Soma, which claimed 301 victims.
Initial autopsies on the bodies of 10 of the miners in Ermenek revealed that they died of coal gas poisoning, rather than drowning.
According to the details of a first initial report by experts, eight of the miners, who were huddled around each other when they were found dead on the 22nd day of the rescue efforts, had climbed a wall and waited there for 15 hours for help before succumbing to the poisoning.
Experts once again slammed poor safety conditions at the facility, stressing that the workers could have survived if there had been a refuge chamber set up by the mining company.
The government sent three ministers to the mine facility following the accident, but safety works proceeded slowly due to the huge quantities of water that had completely inundated the galleries. Hope to rescue the miners alive therefore faded quickly.
Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu vowed new regulations for miners, after the accident added to Turkey’s already grim record on labor accidents.