Rescuers in Turkey have begun wrapping up search operations at the site of the country’s worst-ever coal mine disaster.
On Saturday, Energy Minister Taner Yildiz said rescue workers found the bodies of two more miners, raising the death toll to 301. He said they are believed to be the last remaining victims at the Soma Holding Co. mine in western Turkey.
Yildiz said 485 miners either had escaped or were rescued.
“There are no mine workers in the mine at the moment,” the energy minister told reporters at a news conference. “There are no more missing people reported by families.”
Seven families were awaiting bodies undergoing DNA testing, he added.
Earlier Saturday, a new fire erupted at the mine, hampering recovery efforts. Yildiz said rescue teams would conduct a final search through the mine.
Turkish officials still are investigating the cause of Tuesday’s electrical explosion and fire at the mine. They said most of the workers died from carbon monoxide poisoning.
The deadly accident has sparked a string of protests. Demonstrators and IndustriALL Global Union, an international organization representing 50 million workers, say Turkey has poor mining safety standards.
Police in Istanbul used tear gas and water cannons late Friday to disperse people refusing to leave after a peaceful demonstration honoring the miners. What began as a solemn candlelight ceremony spiraled into chaos when several people refusing to leave after the event ended clashed with police.