Ermenek High Criminal Court in Turkey has started the trial on the Has Sekerler coal mine disaster, which killed 18 workers on 28 October 2014 in the central Anatolian province of Karaman.
Following the incident, the mining company’s owner Saffet Uyar, mining permit holder Abdullah Ozbey, and engineering supervisor Ali Kurt were arrested in the following November.
Ermenek Public Prosecutor’s Office has identified 62 plaintiffs and 16 suspects in the case.
As the indictment was being read in court, families of the victims regularly interrupted and the plaintiffs’ claims against the suspects also raised tensions.
In October 2014, miners were working in an area of the pit in Ermenek, Karaman province, when it flooded and trapped 18 of them 300m underground.
A team of mining experts prepared a report stating that instead of conducting drilling at a required distance of 25m, it was conducted only 3m from the wastewater that had accumulated in an underground reservoir.
The mine flooded after the reservoir was breached.
It was discovered that the company did not properly install the pipes that were used for draining water from the site and improper construction made the walls of the mine collapse.
It was believed that workers were not aware of any precautions that needed to be taken during to prevent such an incident.
In addition to the miners trapped, 20 other workers either escaped the mine or were rescued from it.
Turkish Energy Minister Taner Yildiz said on 30 October that the operation was being hampered by mud, as well as damages that occurred within the mine.