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Officials, Managers from China's Fatal Landslide Detained

Six officials and managers, allegedly responsible for a fatal landslide in north China's Shanxi Province in August, have been detained by police, a spokesman from the investigation team said on Saturday.

The six include Yan Quewa, head of a local iron mine and that mine's chief engineer, Wang Jianzhong. Authorities say some technicians from the mine were also detained.

Wang Xuede, who is heading up the landslide investigation, said his team would "thoroughly investigate" the accident.

Wang blamed human errors for the landslide, which toppled a waste dump of the mine and buried Sigou Village of Loufan County in the suburbs of the provincial capital Taiyuan on August 1.

The local government was blamed by Wang for inadequate safety supervision and mine authorities for overloading the dump site, which is on loose earth and topples easily under the weight of the waste.

The waste dump, within 200 meters from the village, belongs to Jianshan Iron Mine. It was operated by Taiyuan Iron and Steel (Group) Company Ltd.

Chinese law states, such dumps should be at least 500 meters from residential areas and should have embankments or walls to contain dust or prevent landslides. The dump near Sigou, however, had none.

Rescue work has now ended and the final death toll stands at 44, with one injury, the Taiyuan City government said.

(Xinhua News Agency October 26, 2008)

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