China Coal mine blast death toll covered up

An investigation in China has shown a coal mine company hid the death toll from a gas explosion in northeast China’s Jilin Province in March.

Xinhuanet reported the explosion happened on March 29 at Tonghua Mining Group’s Babao Coal Mine Company in Baishan City.

The company only gave an account of 28 deaths and 13 injuries to dodge an investigation while the total death toll stood at 36. One injured worker was taken to hospital but died on March 31, the report by the State Council said.

The State Administration of Work Safety demanded the provincial government confirm the total death toll on April 5 after obtaining information the company was hiding the death toll.

The provincial government said the next day 36 people had died in the explosion and the company hid the deaths of seven victims, the report said.

The company operates under parent group Tonghua Mining.

Babao Coal Mine saw another gas blast just days earlier, with the explosion killing 28 and injuring 13, Xinhuanet reported.

Early investigations revealed a safety team of 41 technical workers was sent underground to fix an alleged gas leak when the explosion happened, according to deputy general manager of the group Zhang Yuhong.

The investigation also revealed Babao Coal Mine covered up deaths of six workers in five accidents in 2012.

The company also failed to report three gas explosions that happened this year before the fatal blast in March. There were no casualties from the three gas explosions.

Despite a government prohibition on operation, the company sent workers down the shaft for work. Another gas explosion occurred in the same mine on April 1.

The explosion claimed 17 lives and injured eight.

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