AMASRA, Turkey — Funerals for miners killed in a coal mine explosion in northern Turkey began Saturday as officials raised the death toll to at least 41 people.
Desperate relatives had waited all night in the cold outside the state-owned Turkish Hard Coal Enterprise’s (TTK) mine in the town of Amasra, in the Black Sea coastal province of Bartin, hoping for news. There were 110 miners working several hundred meters below ground at the time of the explosion on Friday evening.
Their wait turned to devastation by Saturday noon. Women cried at the funeral of miner Selcuk Ayvaz, whose coffin was wrapped in the red and white Turkish flag. Another miner, 28-year-old Aziz Kose, held his newborn baby just days ago. They mostly came from working-class families and went underground to the coal mines to make a living.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan arrived at the scene and said the body of one missing miner had finally been reached, confirming 41 were dead. Erdogan was flanked by officials, miners and rescuers, as he vowed to bring an end to mining disasters, while saying he believes in “fate.”
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