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14 punished in mine blasts, bridge collapse

By Li Qian (Shanghai Daily)

15:21, January 11, 2012

FOURTEEN people received sentences ranging from three years in prison to death with reprieve for causing the deaths of 149 people and injuries to 136 others in three serious work-safety accidents, the Supreme People's Court said yesterday.

The accidents include coal mine blasts in northeast China's Heilongjiang Province and the northern Hebei Province and the collapse of an elevated freeway in the eastern Jiangsu Province.

The blast that ripped through the Xinxing Coal Mine in Hegang, Heilongjiang, killed 108 people and injured 133 on November, 21, 2009. As a result of poor ventilation, a gas leak poured into the main tunnel and triggered the huge explosion.

The state-owned Heilongjiang Longmei Mining Holding Group's subsidiary had been ordered to suspend operation before the explosion because its working certificate was invalid and the safety facilities were lacking. Two group officials, Xie Changrong and Yue Chaosheng, who were appointed as mine heads, instead resumed the operation. Both were sentenced to seven years. Also jailed were the chief engineer, Dong Qinkui, deputy head and supervisor of work safety, Liu Zongtuan, and another official, Wang Shou'an.

Another coal mine blast occurred at 8:30am on July 14, 2008, at Lijiawa Coal Mine in Yuxian County, Hebei, when explosives illegally stored in a pit ignited, killing 34 miners.

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