Turkish authorities have detained seven people in connection with the deadly flooding in a coal mine in Central Anatolia, Energy Minister Taner Yıldız said, Hürriyet Daily News reported.
"The Chief Prosecutor informed us that one of the detained suspects is the owner of the mine. Two others are his partners. The other five are technical personnel," Yıldız told reporters on Nov. 8 in the mining town of Ermenek in the Karaman province.
Turkish authorities, who initially announced that eight people were detained, later said that one person was still sought.
18 miners had been trapped while having lunch deep inside a coal mine in Ermenek on Oct. 28. Only two bodies were retrieved in 11 days of efforts to discharge tons of water accumulated in the mine.
Yıldız said that the initial suspicions about the cause of the accident have been confirmed, as first probes suggested that the disaster-struck mine had approached an old mine's water-filled galleries as close as six to seven meters.
"This is a very clear mistake by the operators of the mine ... They ignored workers' warnings, claiming that the old mine was still 50-60 meters away," Yıldız added, stressing that authorities will share the details after the administrative investigation is concluded.
30-year-old miner Kerim Haznedar his colleague İsa Gözbaşı, 23, were laid to rest in Karaman on Nov. 8, while 16 miners remained trapped in the mine as efforts continued.
Turkey's largest ever industrial disaster had let to the loss of 301 miners in the western town of Soma in May.