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January 9, 2010

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Company covered up 14 deaths in gas leak

THE death toll from a gas pipeline leak at a north China steel plant has risen to 21 after company executives admitted covering up 14 deaths.

Investigators said installation workers' negligence caused the leak. An initial investigation showed they failed to cut off gas supply after they finished welding the pipeline, which led to the accident.

Thirty workers were poisoned while assembling a furnace on Monday in Puyang Iron and Steel Co Ltd in Yangyi town, Wu'an City of Hebei Province.

The company originally reported that 16 workers were poisoned, of whom seven were confirmed dead and the other nine receiving treatment.

Police have arrested Zhang Fugui, deputy general manager of the steel company, and put Liu Qinglin and Pei Qingfeng, who were in charge of work safety, under home surveillance.

Wu Zhisen, vice director of Wu'an Municipal Administration of Work Safety, Wang Xueshu, head of Yangyi town, and Li Haisheng, deputy chief of Yangyi town, have been sacked.


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