By 6pm yesterday, three bodies had been pulled out of 3-5m of rock and earth in central Viet Nam following what was reportedly a landslide Saturday which buried 18 quarry workers. It is estimated to take at least 10 more days to reach the remaining victims who are feared also dead.
Efforts are going on to reach the 15 victims, believed to be buried 15-30m under rock and soil
Pham Van Thich, 26, Trinh Ba Ky, 50, and Nguyen Quoc Truong, 28, all of state-owned Song Da Enterprise No 2 were found and confirmed dead. They were quarrying stone at the foot of a mountain in Nghe An Province’s Tuong Duong District to serve the nearby Ban Ve power plant.
Though over 450 soldiers, militia and dozens of backhoes and trucks have been mobilized, efforts to get to the remaining 15 victims are extremely difficult as the only access to the site is by a narrow path on the mountainside that is now obstructed by thousands of tons of soil.
And the victims are suspected to be buried 15-30m deep under some 500,000 cubic meters of rock and soil.
Hydropower Project No 2 Director Dao Duy Tan told Sai Gon Giai Phong it would likely take at least 10 days to dig the remaining victims out of the rubble.
Rescue forces have used 100kg of dynamite to blast through rock and soil to reach the bodies. But, since cracks were discovered, they have had to proceed with extreme caution, fearing another rockslide.
By 6.30pm Saturday, the landslide, which occurred at 9:30am, was still raging down.
As no rain has fallen in the area recently, officials suspect the incident was instead caused by explosives used at the mine on Friday to remove stones.
Of the 18 victims, eight work for state-owned Song Da Corporation No 5, nine for the Song Da Corporation No 2, and one for Electricity Viet Nam’s Hydro Power Project Management Unit No 2.
Vietnamese President Nguyen Minh Triet and Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung have sent their condolences to families of the victims while Deputy Prime Minister Hoang Trung Hai is currently in Nghe An to directly oversee the search operation.
The Song Da Corporation has announced it would donate an initial VND30 million (US$1,875) to each victim’s family, while the Nghe An provincial government would grant each family VND5 million and a further VND500 million would be contributed to each family by each of Viet Nam Oil and Gas Group (PetroVietnam) and the Ministry of Construction.