Turkey mine explosion: Final bodies recovered from underground as death tolls reaches 301

The death toll of Turkey's worst ever mining disaster is 301

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The Independent Online

Officials believe the last bodies have been recovered from a Turkish mine where an explosion and fire killed hundreds of workers on Tuesday.

A new fire overnight hampered efforts to find the victims but they were brought out on Saturday, bringing the death toll to 301.

Many of the miners killed in the tragedy have already been buried in Soma, where hundreds of people flocked to their funerals.

Some laid football scarves on fans' graves and prayers have been said in mosques across Turkey.

The tragedy, which is Turkey’s worst ever mining disaster, sparked protests across the country and anger at the Government and company’s perceived negligence.

A survivor claimed safety inspectors never visited the lower reaches of the mine, in Soma, but officials have denied that neglect caused the deadly explosion and fire.

On Friday, an estimated 1,500 demonstrators gathered in the town calling on the Prime Minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, to resign.

Police used tear gas and water cannons to disperse crowds throwing missiles and chanting at Mr Erdogan, who sought refuge in a supermarket.

Footage appeared to show his bodyguards hitting a protester and the Prime Minister himself was accused of slapping a man.

In Istanbul, police forcefully broke up a crowd of about 150 people who lit candles and lined up mining helmets on the ground to honour victims, the DHA news agency reported.

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Workers have described the disaster as murder, not an accident, because of alleged safety negligence at the mine and others in the country.

Ozgur Ozel, an opposition politician from the Soma region, petitioned parliament in October to hold an inquiry into mine safety but the proposal was voted down.

He says there is a mine accident every three or four months in the area and 11 workers had died in the last three years alone.

The Turkish Government has not adopted the International Labour Organisation's convention on mine safety, which is widely regarded as the industry standard.

Additional reporting by AP