Five people found responsible for a coal mine blast that killed 171 in northeast China's Heilongjiang Province in 2005, were sentenced to jail terms ranging from 3.5 years to six years, a court announced on Saturday.
Xinxing District People's Court sentenced Ma Jinguang, owner of the Dongfeng Coal Mine in Qitaihe City, to six years. It said he neglected both the regulations and his duty as a coal mine owner in failing to ensure work safety in the mine.
Vice head of the mine Qiang Hua and Li Zhiheng, chief engineer Jiang Hengben, and an official in charge of quality, Zhang Shuxin, received five years, four years, five years, and 3.5 years, respectively.
It was unknown whether they would apppeal.
According to an earlier report, 11 people connected to the mine blast had gone on trial last Sunday. They were said to have been detained by police on December 13, 2005, but were released on bail on Aug. 28, 2006. Last month, they were arrested again.
No explanation was given for the two-year delay.
The explosion went off in the evening of November 27, 2005, at the Dongfeng Coal Mine, run by the Qitaihe branch of the Longmei Mining (Group) Co., Ltd..
The fatal accident also injured 48 and caused economic loss of about 43 million yuan ($5.9 million).