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Coal mine covers up gas poisoning deaths
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Seven people died of gas poisoning in a central China coal mine last week, but the management attempted to conceal the accident, the local government revealed Saturday.

A government investigation found that five bodies had been removed to other places and one who died in a hospital went unreported, according to the city government of Dengfeng, where the accident took place.

Police have detained the manager, Liang Zhanwei, and four other production and management directors of the privately-owned mine.

The mine only reported one death to authorities on May 2, when carbon monoxide burst out in a shaft where 69 miners were working underground.

Investigators were told that one worker died at the site and 54 escaped, but they discovered that five died on the way to hospital and another died after medical treatment failed. Eight others recovered, said Yang Zhanwei, head of the city's coal industry bureau.

The investigation team comprising officials with the city's work safety bureau, public security, discipline inspection and coal industry authorities, questioned workers' families and miners who were at the site, and checked the work attendance records after receiving public reports about the alleged cover-up, finding out that the mine had concealed six deaths.

Police are still questioning the five suspects.

The licensed Xinfeng Coal Mine belongs to Guangxian Industrial and Trading Co. Ltd. with a designed production capacity of 600,000 tonnes a year.

(Xinhua News Agency May 10, 2009)

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