Turkish miners laid to rest in the earth they toiled under

By Dan Rivers: ITV News Correspondent

The rich brown soil which the miners of Soma spent their lives toiling under has been carefully prepared to for their deaths.

Many of their families are still reeling from the catastrophe underground that has robbed this community of its heart.

We watched as coffins arrived one after another at the town’s municipal cemetery; a grim procession watched by tearful families and friends.

This is a small town of 100,000 people. Every family knows a miner and many know someone who perished in Soma.

Relatives are consoled as their loved ones are buried. Credit: ITV News/Dan Rivers

I watch Elmas Yildirim quietly weeping near the grave of her son Kader. She is inconsolable; he was just 33 years old. His name literally means “fate”, but his family surely never expected his life to end so soon.

The municipal graveyard. Credit: ITV News/Dan Rivers

Covering stories like this it’s all too easy to become fixated with the death toll.

A gruesome rising auction of numbers, that started with an initial report that 17 were killed, that now stands above 270.

But seeing the rows of freshly dug graves in Soma, the human tragedy behind those figures is suddenly clear.

Each contains a man who was loved; fathers, sons, brothers whose death will leave an aching hole in the hearts of their families.