Close shave with death: wall collapse survivors still in shock

By Cuu Long   March 16, 2019 | 06:07 am PT
Close shave with death: wall collapse survivors still in shock
Police officers check a wall collapse site in Vinh Long Province, March 15, 2019. Photos by VnExpress/Cuu Long
Workers who barely escaped Friday’s deadly wall collapse in southern Vietnam have yet to pull themselves together.

Pham Van Bo was standing just a few steps away when the 10 meter (33 feet) high, 30 meter wide wall at the construction site of a garment factory in Long Ho District, Vinh Long Province collapsed Friday morning.

He had to leave the wall, where he and others were plastering with cement, to check on the concrete mixer, which appeared to have a problem.

"I just walked away for a few steps when I heard cracks and felt vibration from the wall. I ran immediately and screamed at the same time. In the blink of an eye, it all fell down, just a few meters behind me," he said.

Worker Pham Van Bo, who escaped the deadly wall collapse. 

Worker Pham Van Bo, who escaped the deadly wall collapse. Photo by VnExpress/Cuu Long

Vo Phi Phat, a supervisor at the project in Hoa Phu Industrial Zone, was also standing a few meters away when the accident happened.

He heard a loud noise right before seeing the entire wall fall down, and then everything was covered in dust.

Then came the screams.

"I ran over to see people felled by concrete bars, lying motionless," Phat said.

There were 10 workers working around the wall at the time, he said, still stunned.

They were divided into two groups, one standing on a scaffolding to plaster cement on the upper part of the wall, which was built more than two months ago, and the other taking charge of the lower part.

Of the group, six were killed, two are still in critical condition.

The father of Nguyen Thi Huynh Nhu, a beverage vendor in the industrial zone, was one of the survivors.

Nhu rushed into the site on learning that the wall had collapsed.

"Luckily, my father had escaped just in time. But I am unable to be calm, until now. "

Le Phuoc Thien, deputy head of the Industrial Zone Authority in Vinh Long, said work started at the 4,000-square-meter factory in December last year.

"The authorities will now check if the entire project has been constructed in line with the design and the investor’s license or not," he said.

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