With Wails and Songs of the Dead, Turkey Lays Miners to Rest

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SOMA, Turkey -- Women sang songs about departed miners Thursday over the graves of relatives killed in Turkey's worst mining accident, even as more hearses pulled up and backhoes dug more graves around them.

Rescue teams recovered nine more victims, raising the death toll to 283, with 141 people still unaccounted for from Tuesday's disaster.

In Soma, a town in the west where coal mining has been the main industry for decades, women wailed and sang songs about their relatives as bodies were taken from coffins and lowered into their graves. Pictures of the lost relatives were pinned onto their clothing.

People dig graves for miners in a cemetery during the funeral ceremony of miners on Thursday in Soma, Turkey.BULENT KILIC / AFP - Getty Images

No miner has been brought out alive since dawn Wednesday from the coal mine where the explosion and fire took place. Many mourners said they spent their whole lives fearing something like this.

"The wives of the miners kiss their husbands in the morning. When they come back, even if they are five minutes late, everyone starts calling. You never know what is going to happen," said Gulizar Donmez, 45, the daughter and wife of a miner and neighbor of one of the victims.

Mining accidents are common in Turkey, which is plagued by poor safety conditions. Tuesday's explosion tore through the mine as workers were preparing for a shift change, which likely raised the casualty toll.

- The Associated Press