Toxic gas detected in Turkish mine days before fire


SOMA, Turkey (AP) — Sensors noted high levels of toxic gas inside a coal mine days before the Turkish
mining disaster that killed 301 workers but company officials took no action, Turkish news reports said
Prosecutors, meanwhile, formally arrested two more people for the devastating mine fire in the western
town of Soma, raising the number of suspects facing charges of negligent death to five. Those detained
included executives and supervisors at mine owner Soma Komur Isletmeleri A.S., prosecutors say.
Chief prosecutor Bekir Sahiner said 25 people were initially detained as part of the probe, but several
were released without charges while eight others were released but could be charged later. Authorities
were still questioning the company’s CEO, Can Gurkan, the state-run Anadolu Agency reported.
The Hurriyet, HaberTurk, Milliyet and other Turkish newspapers said prosecutors and inspectors probing
the worst mining disaster in Turkey’s history had seized data from the mine that indicated sensors
showed high gas levels inside the mine as early as two days before the May 13 disaster. The reports say
company officials did not record these high levels on log books and took no precautionary actions.
The Turkish newspapers did not cite source for their reports. Sahiner did not answer calls and no one
picked up telephones at the prosecutors’ office in Soma or in the nearby city of Akhisar, which is
leading the probe.
But miners who survived the disaster also told The Associated Press that supervisors ignored rising gas
levels and failed to take precautionary measures.
Sahiner said Saturday that a preliminary probe indicated that coal had been smoldering days before the
disaster, causing the roof to collapse in one part of the mine and unleashing toxic gases that spread
Government and mining officials have both said that most victims died from toxic gases released by the
fire. They have insisted, however, that the mine was inspected regularly and negligence wasn’t a factor
in the fire.

No posts to display