Tragedy Three dead, 13 trapped in Turkey mine collapse

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Families of trapped miners console each other at the accident site at a copper mine in Siirt, southeast Turkey on November 18, 2016 play

Families of trapped miners console each other at the accident site at a copper mine in Siirt, southeast Turkey on November 18, 2016

(AFP)

Turkish rescue workers were on Friday battling to save 13 miners trapped after the collapse of a copper mine already confirmed to have left at least three dead.

The governor's office in the southeastern Siirt province where the mine is located said two of three bodies recovered after the accident late Thursday had already been identified.

"Work began again at dawn to save 13 more workers," it said, adding that salvage services from across the region and rescue dogs were at the scene.

An AFP photographer at the scene said that dozens of family members of the trapped miners were surrounding the mine in a desperate wait for news.

Elderly women in white headscarves in the mainly-Kurdish region put their hands to their heads in grief and embraced each other.

Smoke rose from the mine area as the reltives lit fires to keep warm on a sunny but freezing day in the mountainous region.

Families of trapped miners make a fire to get warm as they wait at site of an accident at a copper mine in Siirt, southeast Turkey on November 18, 2016 play

Families of trapped miners make a fire to get warm as they wait at site of an accident at a copper mine in Siirt, southeast Turkey on November 18, 2016

(AFP)

The mine in the Sirvan district of Siirt province is owned by a private company, the official news agency Anadolu said, without naming the firm.

The accident comes more than two years after the country's worst modern industrial disaster in May 2014 which left 301 miners dead following a fire at the Soma coal mine in western Turkey.

Prosecutors have demanded life imprisonment for eight executives of the Soma mine, in a trial that is still ongoing.

In another disaster, 18 miners were killed in October 2014 when they were trapped by flooding in a coal mine in the Karaman province.

Experts say that Turkey has a well-above-average rate of fatalities in its mines with the vast majority of casualties coming in private mines.

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