21 November 2016
Siirt in Turkey: a desperate race to save the lives of miners buried in a landslide
Somewhat lost in the focus on the landslides triggered by the earthquake in New Zealand has been an ongoing landslide tragedy at Siirt in Turkey. Here, a landslide on Thursday at the copper mine at Madenköy buried 16 miners. To date the bodies of six men have been recovered, and operations continue to recover the other ten. The authorities have admitted that their prospects are not promising. Heavy rainfall may have been a factor in the landslide, but to date six people have been arrested under suspicion of negligence, including the field operations manager of the mine and the owner of a subcontracting firm.
Remarkably, it appears that the landslide was captured on video. This recording is on Youtube. The panic and confusion of the person making the recording is clear:
There are few images that show provide a decent view of the aftermath of the landslide, allowing a proper indication of the nature of the collapse. This is the best that I can find to date, from the Haber Yerin news site (in Turkish):
Based on this image this appears to be a large, reasonably shallow rockslide in a heavily benched slope. This image shows the debris pile at the foot of the slope, including the heavy equipment that was caught up and buried in the landslide, via Adana Kent:
Unfortunately this is just the latest in a long line of mine related accidents in Turkey (this example remains one of the most remarkable landslides of the last decade), and of course I have highlighted previously the terrible toll that mine related landslides exact in some parts of the world.