Miner Ahmet Yankın (38) has washed and returned the blanket in which the lifeless body of his brother, Nurhan Yankın (42), who died in the Soma mining accident last week, was delivered to him to the Turkish Red Crescent (Kızılay).
Nurhan Yankın retired from mine work at the age of 40, but he went back in order to pay the mortgage on his house. He lost his life in Turkey's worst mining disaster on May 13. His body was returned to his family wrapped in a Kızılay blanket. His brother, Ahmet Yankın, another miner who miraculously survived the same accident, returned to blanket to Kızılay “so other people can use it,” he said.
A resident of Soma and a father of two, Ahmet Yankın said he was about 2,700 meters from the mine entrance when the deadly fire that led to the deaths of 301 people in the mine started. He said he was in a group of 143 miners who managed to find a source of oxygen in the mine, though seven in the group died waiting to be rescued. Yankın had passed out when the rescuers finally arrived. “In the ambulance, they were saying I was about to die. I could hear what was being said, but I couldn't respond. I was released from the hospital later that night.”
“My brother was closer to the exit but the smoke covered the area where he was more rapidly. I found out that he had died after being released from the hospital. Later we went to the cold-air depot in Kırkağaç to retrieve his body. I looked at 165 bodies to identify him. I lost control when I saw the bodies of my friends. It was very painful. I could only identify my brother after getting a grip on myself.”
It was Yankın's wife's idea to return the blanket. She had been given a blanket by Kızılay personnel while she waited outside the hospital on the night of the accident. She returned the blanket before leaving the hospital and later told her husband that the family should also return the second blanket so that others in need could use it. “So we washed it and dried it and gave it back,” Yankın said.
Miner returns blanket used to wrap brother's body to Kızılay
Turkish Red Crescent (Kızılay) officials show a blanket returned by a miner who lost his brother in Soma mining diasster. (Photo: DHA)
May 21, 2014, Wednesday/ 16:41:28/ TODAY'S ZAMAN / ISTANBUL