18 detained as part of probe into Soma mine accident
Some 18 people, including high-ranking officials of the company operating the Soma mine, were detained May 18 as part of the investigation into the tragic coal mine accident, Hurriyet Daily News reported.
It had previously been announced that a probe had been launched in the wake of the worst mine accident in Turkish history, which claimed 301 lives in the western town of Soma May 13.
The Soma Coal Mine Company's operating manager, Ramazan Dogru, and its chief engineer, Akin Celik, are among the detained company officials.
Prosecutors have sent five of the suspects to court, demanding their arrest, private broadcaster NTV has reported.
Meanwhile, the entrance of the mine has been closed with a brick wall, after the authorities called for an end to rescue works.
All mining activities have also been halted, upon a decision by the Turkish Labor Inspection Board. Only inspectors and prosecutors investigating the accident are now allowed to enter the vicinity of the mine.