Turkish prosecutor charges three over mine disaster

A Turkish court charges three people with manslaughter over a mine disaster that killed 301 people

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A Turkish court on Sunday charged three people with manslaughter over a mine disaster that killed 301 people, the prosecutor in charge of the probe said.

"Twenty-five people have been taken, detained and three of them have been charged with manslaughter," prosecutor Bekir Sahiner told reporters in the western town of Soma where the country's worst ever mining disaster took place.

Earlier Sunday, broadcasters including CNN Turk reported that police detained 18 people, including mining company executives and personnel, as part of the investigation in the incident.

The rescue operation at the coal mine ended on Saturday after the bodies of the last two workers were carried out, bringing the death toll in Turkey’s worst industrial accident to 301.

The accident happened on Tuesday when a fire sent deadly carbon monoxide coursing through the mine, operated by Soma Madencilik.

Local prosecutors are questioning the company employees at a Soma court house, a police official told Reuters.

He was unable to give Reuters news agency any further details.

The disaster caused protests across Turkey, aimed at mine owners accused of ignoring safety for profit, and at Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan’s government, seen as too close to industry bosses.

On Saturday, police put the town of Soma on virtual lockdown,setting up checkpoints and detaining dozens of people to enforce a ban on protests.

Security in the town remained tight on Sunday.

(With AFP and Reuters)