BEIJING: Fourteen people were sentenced to prison terms ranging from three to five years today in China for breaking work safety rules and dereliction of duty which led to a fatal pipeline blast that killed 63 people in 2013.
The blast injured another 156 and caused a loss of 751.72 million yuan (about USD 123 million), the people's court of Huangdao District of Qingdao City said in its verdict.
The main reason for the accident was maintenance staff drilling, which produced sparks and caused an explosion fueled by oil leaked from a pipeline owned by a subsidiary of Sinopec, the country's largest oil refiner, a report unveiled last year by a special investigation group set up by the State Council said.
The court sentenced eight people from the oil companies to three to five years in prison for breaking work safety rules.
Another six people from the local government were sentenced three years to three and a half years for dereliction of duty, state-run Xinhua news agency reported.
Four people were given a two-year reprieve.
Over 60 people have been penalised for the blast, with at least 48 receiving punishments for violating Party and administrative disciplines.