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Final death toll in Turkey mining disaster stands at 301

A fire had hampered rescue efforts earlier today, but the final two bodies have since been retrieved.

A statue of the town's miners with carnations left on it in Soma, Turkey, early this morning.
A statue of the town's miners with carnations left on it in Soma, Turkey, early this morning.
Image: Emre Tazegul/AP/Press Association Images

Update 4.55pm

THE DEATH TOLL from Turkey’s worst-ever mining disaster stands at 301.

Turkey announced the final death toll from this week’s devastating coal blast as 301, after retrieving the bodies of the last two miners trapped underground.

“The rescue operation was carried out to completion. There are no miners left underground,” Energy Minister Taner Yildiz told reporters in the western town of Soma, site of the country’s worst ever industrial disaster.

Escaped or rescued

Another 485 miners either escaped or have been rescued since the explosion struck on Tuesday.

The disaster has led to a surge of popular anger in Turkey, fuelled by accusations of negligence by mine operators and what many saw as a heartless response from the government.

A new fire broke out today in another section of the mine, about 250 metres away from where the miners are trapped, which had created further difficulties for rescue teams.

- © AFP, 2014 

- First published 13.50

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