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Officials detained over mine accident

By Yang Zekun | China Daily | Updated: 2023-05-05 09:21
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Multiple former leaders of Qianxi county in Tangshan, Hebei province have been detained for investigation over leading or participating in the false reporting of a production safety accident that occurred in September last year, leading to 14 deaths and one missing, according to an official statement.

The Hebei provincial emergency management department recently released an investigation report on the flood at an iron mine that occurred on Sept 2.

The mine was not constructed according to its design, which led to the accident, said the report, confirming that it was a production safety liability accident.

Officials from the county falsely reported the accident and hid the number of trapped construction workers after it occurred.

Li Wei, head of the mine, reported to Guan Shengwei, former Party chief of Qianxi county's Taipingzhai township, after the accident that 15 people were trapped.

The then county Party chief Cai Zongjian, county head Shi Jingman and deputy head Tang Haisheng learned about the accident in the afternoon on Sept 2.

Cai, Shi and Tang decided to report to the Tangshan city government that only two people were trapped in the early morning of Sept 3.

After the accident, Cai and Tang arranged for people to destroy the monitoring equipment and forged the entry and exit records, the roster of employees and other materials.

On Sept 6, officials from the county government arranged for the construction company to go down into the mine to clear obstacles and search and hide the bodies of victims, and arranged for a rescue team to go down into the mine but did not actually carry out the search and rescue.

The rescue team later falsely reported the search situation. Then the officials arranged for other personnel to transfer the 12 bodies in the early hours of Sept 9.

On Sept 10, the rescue team found another body at the bottom of the main well, which was not on the list of the two reported trapped people.

Due to the change in the reported number of casualties, the Hebei provincial government requested verification of the number of trapped people. Later, public security authorities confirmed that 14 people were killed and one was missing in the accident.

According to the investigation, 20 people including the head of the mine and construction team and the Party chief of the township were detained by police.

The county's leading officials Cai, Shi and Tang were held for investigation for concealing the accident.

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