CHANGSHA, 25 February 2012 (Xinhua) — Four officials have been sentenced to three to 13 years in jail for a coal mine flooding that killed 13 last June in central China’s Hunan province, a local court said on Saturday (25 February 2012).

The deadly accident happened at the privately and illegally run Duxing Coal Mine in Sandu township in Leiyang city on 20 June 2011. The convicted officials did not report the accident immediately to the local government and later lied about the death toll, which delayed the rescue work and investigation.

Kuang Laojian, former Communist Party of China (CPC) chief of Sandu township, was sentenced to 13 years in jail for dereliction of duty, abuse of power, taking bribes and corruption, according to the verdict by the people’s court in Yongxing county.

Tao Guosheng, former head of Sandu township, was sentenced to three and a half years in prison for dereliction of duty and abuse of power, the verdict said.  Another two township officials, Deng Zhijian and Sun Yanshu, each received jail terms of three years for dereliction of duty and corruption, the court said.