Rail bosses tried to hide deadly tunnel explosion

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail Shanghai Daily, January 10, 2013
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Managers of a subsidiary of the state-owned China Railway Tunnel Group paid off witnesses and survivors in an attempt to conceal a fatal tunnel explosion in Shanxi Province, Legal Weekly reported yesterday.

The blast, which killed eight and injured five on December 25 in Linfen, came to light 10 days later thanks to Internet users. Four company officials have been arrested.

The newspaper interviewed workers who said company officials gave them money and told them to go away.

The blast happened around 3pm at the No. 1 slope mine of the Luliangshan Tunnel project for the railway.

Instead of sending in rescuers, managers tried to conceal the accident, witnesses said.

"No one went into the mine to save people. I begged them and only four people went in, who later saved three others in half an hour," said a family member of a victim surnamed Liu. Liu said the rescue team at the site was not equipped with proper gear and had to put wet towels on their mouths.

"There were no oxygen masks or searchlights," Liu added.

Bodies of the victims were sent to other provinces. Each worker was paid 20,000 yuan (US$3,212) by the company, a villager said. A family of one of the victims was given 800,000 yuan in compensation and asked to leave, the report said.

To cover up the accident, victims' bodies were cremated in Henan Province 360 kilometers away, while the injured were also taken to Henan for treatment, the paper said.

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