ISTANBUL, May 17 (Xinhua) -- The bodies of two more miners were found on Saturday in Turkey's coal mine in the western town of Soma, bringing the death toll in the country's worst coal mine disaster to 301, Turkish Energy Minister Taner Yildiz said.
Earlier in the day, a fresh fire broke out inside the coal mine, hampering efforts to locate the remaining bodies of the miners believed to be trapped underground, the minister said.
A total of 485 miners have been rescued since the explosion of the coal mine on May 13, Anatolia news agency quoted the minister as saying.
As to the cause of the accident, Yildiz said the exact cause would be revealed after the autopsies, adding that DNA tests will be run to identify the miners before delivering them to their families.
Meanwhile, the minister stressed that any negligence on the part of officials or the company that manage the mine will be punished. On the other hand, the mine's operator Soma Komur denied any allegations of negligence, saying that they had all worked very hard.
The disaster has triggered nationwide protests against the government in the past four days. On Friday, clashes broke out in Soma when Turkish police used tear gas, water cannon and plastic bullets to disperse protesters who demanded compensation for the nearly 300 dead miners.
Turkey currently has some 740 coal mines and more than 48,000 miners. Mine accidents in the country have killed over 3,000 people and injured more than 100,000 since 1941.
BEIJING, May 16 (Xinhua) -- Chinese President Xi Jinping spoke to Turkish counterpart Abdullah Gul by phone Friday on a deadly coal mine explosion in western Turkey and relations between the two countries.
Gul expressed heartfelt thanks for a message of condolences sent by Xi on Wednesday over the disaster, which took place in a privately owned mine in the western Turkish province of Manisa during a shift changeover on Tuesday. The death toll reached 284 on Friday, making it the country's worst industrial disaster.Full story
WASHINGTON, May 16 (Xinhua) -- U.S. President Barack Obama on Friday called his Turkish counterpart Abdullah Gul to offer his " heartfelt" condolences over a deadly coal mine explosion in western Turkey, saying his administration was ready to help.
"The president offered that the United States stands ready to provide any assistance that could help those affected," the White House said in a readout of the phone conversation. Full story
UNITED NATIONS, May 15 (Xinhua) -- UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said on Thursday that he was deeply saddened by a coal mine accident in Turkey, in which nearly 300 people were killed and many others missing or seriously injured.
A statement issued by his spokesperson said the UN chief stood together with the people of Turkey as they mourned fathers, sons and brothers, and attend to the wounded. Full story