Mine disaster creates tragic human stories

ISTANBUL (CIHAN)- Turkish society has been shaken by heartbreaking tales that have emerged about at least 232 miners who died following a mine explosion and fire in the Soma district of western Manisa province, as well as scores of others who were injured in the incident.

Alaattin Gungr said his son and son-in-law had been killed in the fire. “No one will give us an explanation. My son was 32 and my son-in-law was 30 years old. They had been working at the mine for five or six years. There had been another accident in the mine in the past, and my son was trapped underground. He was saved then, though,” said the father. Gungr added that his son and his son’s wife had undergone years of treatment to have children. “They spent TL 22,000. They had in vitro fertilization to have children. They had twins, but I lost my son,” he added.

Another victim of the mine tragedy, whose name was not immediately available, was reportedly the parent of a one-week-old child.

One of the mine workers, rescued from underground with injuries, made many witnesses cry when he asked medical teams if he could take off his muddy shoes so that the stretcher would not be dirtied.

Kemal YIldIz, who was killed in the tragedy, was only 15 years old. He had been working in the mine although the law prohibits people of that age from working.

The wife of Burak Karayel, another miner, suffered a nervous breakdown after learning that her husband had been killed in the incident. She said they had only been married for 11 months.

The remains of scores of dead miners were sent to a nearby cold storage building before being transferred to hospitals for autopsies. Miners’ relatives flocked to the building to see whether their loved ones were among the victims.

Reports said 10 of the victims were relatives from the same village in Soma.

Sultan YIldIz said she lost two brothers in the mining accident. “One of my brothers had two children. The other was married too, but he did not have kids. Both of them had been working in the mine for eight years,” she noted.

One mine worker, who wished to remain anonymous, said workers were forced to work in inhumane conditions. “Our superiors force us to work harder. There is an atmosphere of chaos and irregularity in the mine. The workers feel under pressure,” he said.

nder etin, a relative of three of the victims, said more and more people in Soma work in the mines because they cannot make a living through farming or husbandry. “The son and two sons-in-law of my brother died in the mining accident. People who are rich continue their lives as farmers. Those who are poor go to the mines to work,” he stated.

The elder brother of a mine worker who was killed in the disaster said he had looked at more than 60 dead bodies in the cold storage building before finding his brother. He also said there were over 150 bodies in the building. “My brother was 33 years old. He was married with two children. He had been working in the mine for eight years. Some members of our family do not know that my brother is dead,” he explained.

When Bayram akan, who was rescued from the disaster, was asked by a TV news reporter whether he would return to work in the mine, he said: “I have to. I owe [money] to a bank. I have to work to pay off my debt.”

Recep zgun, whose son was trapped inside the mine, said his son had reached retirement age last year but continued to work in the mine to support his three children.(CihanToday’s Zamamn)


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