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Reported by: Associated Press
Reported: Thursday, May 15, 2014 12:29 PM EDT
SOMA, Turkey

Families in Turkey have begun to bury some of the 282 miners whose bodies have been recovered following the country's worst-ever mining disaster. More than 140 others are still unaccounted for, according to government figures.

At a graveyard in the western town of Soma, where coal mining has been the main industry for decades, women wailed loudly as bodies were taken from coffins and lowered into graves.

Chanting the names of dead miners, some sang, "The love of my life is gone."

Many mourners said they had spent their lives fearing something like this.

The country's energy minister says the search for any survivors has been hampered by a fire that spread to a conveyor system, but that progress has been made in putting that fire out. No miner has been brought out alive since dawn yesterday from the coal mine where the explosion and fire took place.

The disaster has thrown off-stride the effort by Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan to be elected president. He appeared somewhat tone-deaf to the grief of residents yesterday, calling mining accidents "ordinary things" that occur in many other countries. And now, one of his aides has been seen kicking a protester who was held on the ground by police, at a protest during Erdogan's visit to the mining community.

%@AP Links

185-r-17-(Sound of jeering and whistles of hundreds of protestors, at point of confrontation with police and their water cannons)--Sound of the jeering and whistles of hundreds of government protestors marching against the government as they were met by police spraying water cannons. (15 May 2014)

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179-a-08-(Andrew Watson, operations manager, Mine Rescue Service, in interview)-"throughout the mine"-Andrew Watson of the training firm Mine Rescue Service says airborne particles inside the mine may have been the reason for so many deaths. COURTESY: Sky News ((mandatory on-air credit)) (15 May 2014)

<<CUT *179 (05/15/14)££ 00:08 "throughout the mine"

170-r-13-(Sound of woman crying out in grief, at funeral of twins who died in mining disaster)--Sound of the grieving mother of twin sons who died in the mining disaster, as two caskets were placed into the ground. COURTESY: Turkish Anadolu News Agency ((mandatory on-air credit)) (15 May 2014)

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APPHOTO ANK102: In this photo taken Wednesday, May 14, 2014 a person identified by Turkish media as Yusuf Yerkel, advisor to Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, kicks a protester already held by special forces police members during Erdogan's visiting Soma, Turkey. Erdogan was visiting the western Turkish mining town of Soma after Turkey's worst mining accident . AP Photo/Depo Photos) TURKEY OUT (14 May 2014)

<<APPHOTO ANK102 (05/14/14)££

APPHOTO ANK156: A Turkish woman shows the pictures of her son, no name available, a victim of the mine accident, in Soma, Turkey, Thursday, May 15, 2014. An explosion and fire at a coal mine in Soma, some 250 kilometers (155 miles) south of Istanbul, killed hundreds of workers, authorities said, in one of the worst mining disasters in Turkish history. (AP Photo/Emrah Gurel) (15 May 2014)

<<APPHOTO ANK156 (05/15/14)££


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