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40 punished over Shanxi tunnel explosion cover-up

Xinhua | Updated: 2013-02-06 03:36

TAIYUAN - Judicial or disciplinary punishments have been handed to 40 people for their roles in covering up a fatal tunnel explosion that occurred in north China's Shanxi Province on December 25, local authorities announced on Tuesday.

They include 14 people employed by Erchu Co. Ltd. under the China Railway Tunnel Group, which contracted the tunnel project, said Liu Dezheng, a spokesman for the provincial work safety commission.

The accident was revealed to the public five days after it happened, when a whistle-blower wrote an online post about the explosion.

Six people were involved in covering up the accident, Liu said.

Illegal disposal of explosive materials caused the accident, according to the spokesman.

The company transferred 14,000 meter-long detonating fuses, 4,000 meter-long nonel tubes and other materials from warehousing to underground construction sites and destroyed them, he said.

Under regulations, redundant explosives should be registered and destroyed under the supervision of local public security authority.

Eight people were killed in the explosion and another five were injured. The dead included blasters, a waterproofer, an electrician and a quality inspector.

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