Workers laid to rest in eastern Turkey as families to sue company

Workers laid to rest in eastern Turkey as families to sue company

ERZURUM
Workers laid to rest in eastern Turkey as families to sue company

Tension rose between gendarmerie officers and locals, who voiced their discomfort at the late arrival of the rescue teams. Police dispelled the protesters with pepper spray and three protesters were hospitalized, according to reports. AA photo

Rescue teams have discovered all five of the workers’ bodies, in a reservoir lake where electricity workers went missing on April 3, while six officials from the company were called into police headquarters to give testimonies, according to reports.

Workers Feridun Öztürk, Mustafa Arifoğulları, Sait Turan, Rıdvan Takım, and Şahin Baykal, from the Turkish Electricity Distribution Company (TEDAŞ), had gone out on a pedal boat to repair a power line on the reservoir, but the boat reportedly hit ice on the lake’s surface and capsized.

The workers died in the icy lake, despite clinging onto pieces of ice for nearly two hours. The rescue teams arrived at the scene too late, witnesses said. Search teams yesterday recovered the bodies of the workers from the lake.

Meanwhile, locals staged a protest when Erzurum governor Sebahattin Öztürk paid to visit to the lake yesterday. Police dispelled the protesters with pepper spray and three protesters were hospitalized from the gas, according to reports.

Crowded funerals

Two workers, Mustafa Arifoğulları and Rıdvan Takım, were laid to rest yesterday after a ceremony that saw broad participation. Nearly 3,000 people attended the service, including Justice and Development Party (AKP) deputy Adnan Yılmaz and Erzurum Metropolitan Mayor Ahmet Küçüker.

The head manager of TEDAŞ, Adnan Taşkesenli, said the workers themselves took the initiative to take a pedal boat to enter the lake and they should have taken a safer way, Doğan News Agency reported. Still, the son of one of the deceased workers, Arif Arifoğulları, said the rescue works were a fiasco and that his father’s death was a scandal.

“They were calling my father to repair the problem for the past two days. They sent them there without any engineers or responsible people with them. Plus, they couldn’t even send a helicopter to save them. We will sue both TEDAŞ and the Erzurum governor’s office,” he said.

Compiled from Anatolia News Agency and Doğan News Agency reports.

Turkey, state, lake, worker, death, safety, worker rights