The three-storey Southern Institute of Social Sciences on Nguyen Thi Minh Khai Street, Ho Chi Minh City came crashing down late yesterday, and the builders next door can cop the entire blame.
Before the midtown building disintegrated, many cracks had appeared in its walls because of the adjacent digging to create a three-level basement for the 26-storey Pacific building.
The Pacific is being built by the Long Giang Joint-Stock Company for the Thai Binh Duong Beer Company.
Workers on the scene say they were working in the basement at a depth of 15 meters when a wide ten-meter-high crack suddenly formed and water came gushing out with such force that several workers were rendered unconscious.
The others tried to plug the gaping leak without success and were eventually hauled to safety along with their knocked-out workmates by a crane-truck sent down to rescue them.
Nobody suffered any serious injury in the accident but the institute’s equipment and archives are a disaster. Nothing escaped damage.
Dr. Bui The Cuong, director of the Southern Institute of Social Sciences, says the construction company failed to take the proper safety measures from the word go.
The institute even reported the transgressions to the authorities three times, but to no avail.