Fire in Turkish mine delays rescue work, death toll rises to 299

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By Mehmet Emin Caliskan SOMA, Turkey (Reuters) - A fire broke out on Saturday in part of a mine where nearly 300 miners were killed in Turkey's worst industrial disaster, hindering efforts to find up to three remaining workers believed to be still underground, the energy minister said. The bodies of 15 miners were retrieved overnight, bringing the death toll to 299, and as many as three workers were still inside, Taner Yildiz told reporters at the site. "Naturally until it is brought under control we can't do anything about up to three workers (believed still there)." The disaster triggered angry protests across Turkey, aimed at mine owners accused of ignoring safety for profit, and at Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan's government, seen as too close to industry bosses and insensitive in its reaction to the tragedy. Erdogan has presided over a decade of rapid economic growth but worker safety standards have failed to keep pace, leaving Turkey with one of the world's worst industrial accident records.