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Turkey arrests mining executive over disaster

The arrests came as the last of the 301 victims of last week's coal mine disaster in the town of Soma were buried

Published: Updated:

A Turkish court arrested eight suspects late on Monday on a provisional charge of "causing multiple deaths" in last week's mine disaster in the western town of Soma.

The arrests came as the last of the 301 victims were buried.

Ramazan Dogru, general manager of Soma Coal Mining Company, and Chief Executive Can Gurkan, the son of company owner Alp Gurkan, were among those arrested, according to Reuters news agency.

The arrests follow the detainment and interrogation of 26 others, as an initial report on the possible causes of the accident indicated that the fire could have been triggered by coal heating up after making contact with the air, Reuters reported.

The disaster was the deadliest mining incident in Turkey's history, surpassing the death toll of a firedamp explosion that killed 263 miners in Zonguldak in 1992.

The disaster has sparked protests across Turkey, directed at mine owners accused of ignoring safety for profit, and at Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan's government, seen as too close to industry bosses and insensitive in its response.

(With Reuters)