Digging deep: Rescuers work non-stop in search for landslide victims

By Vo Thanh   October 25, 2020 | 12:30 pm GMT+7
A makeshift altar and burning incense lend solemn company as hundreds work non-stop to find workers buried by a landslide in central Vietnam.
At 6:30 a.m. on Saturday, after having a breakfast at Rao Trang 4 hydropower plant, rescue forces started moving to Rao Trang 3 hydropower plant, away from 10 kilometers, to continue the mission of searching for the missing workers.   From Rao Trang 4, the rescuers are transported by canoe for about 30 minutes, then boarded a dump truck to reach the scene near Rao Trang 3 where a group of 17 workers were reportedly buried following a landslide on October 12.   For nearly two weeks since the landslide tragedy occurred at a construction site near the hydropower plant, around 30 kilometers (18.6 miles) from Phong Xuan Commune Peoples Committee in Phong Dien District of Thua Thien-Hue Province, only four of 17 were retrieved as of Saturday morning.

At 6:30 a.m. Saturday, after having breakfast on the premises of the Rao Trang 4 hydropower plant, rescue workers, mostly in military fatigues, started moving to the Rao Trang 3 hydropower plant about 10 kilometers away. They were continuing their mission to search for those missing almost two weeks after a landslide buried 17 workers near the plant.
From Rao Trang 4, the rescuers are transported by canoe for about 30 minutes, then they board a dump truck to reach the accident site near the Rao Trang 3 power plant. The site is around 30 kilometers (18.6 miles) from the office of the Phong Xuan Commune People's Committee in Phong Dien District, Thua Thien-Hue Province.
The landslide, following days of heavy rains, hit on October 12 when 17 workers were asleep. As of Sunday morning, just five bodies had been retrieved.

After Road No. 71, connecting Rao Trang 4 to Rao Trang 3, was cleared, seven bulldozers and five dump trucks were mobilized into the scene to search for 13 missing workers. Nearly 100 people including police, soldiers and hydropower plant workers participated in the rescue mission.

After Road No. 71, which connects Rao Trang 4 and Rao Trang 3, was cleared, seven bulldozers and five dump trucks were mobilized to look for the missing workers. Nearly 100 people, including police officers, soldiers and hydropower plant workers, are participating in the rescue mission.

After the bodies of two workers were discovered near the bank of a stream on Friday afternoon, rescue forces expanded searching activities around the area.

After the bodies of two workers were discovered near the bank of a stream Friday afternoon, rescue forces intensified search operations in the area.

Senior Lieutenant Colonel Tran Van Lau (L), deputy head of Police Department of Fire Prevention and Fighting and Rescue in Thua Thien Hue Province, discussed Phan Thien Dinh, vice chairman of the province about the plan to find the missing workers. Authorities stepped up rescue efforts at the hydropower plant as heavy rains are expected to hit Thua Thien-Hue Province from Saturday night due to the impacts of Storm Saudel.

Senior Lieutenant Colonel Tran Van Lau (L), deputy head of the Police Department of Fire Prevention and Fighting and Rescue in Thua Thien-Hue Province, discusses some aspect of the rescue operation with Phan Thien Dinh, vice chairman of the central province. Authorities had called for rescue efforts to be stepped up as heavy rain was expected to hit Thua Thien-Hue because of Storm Saudel, expected to weaken into a tropical depression as it makes landfall late on Sunday.

Rescue forces suspected there are still some workers buried near the stream area, they tried to destroy large rocks to find the missing victims lying below.

Rescue forces demolish large rocks on the banks of a local stream where they hope to find more victims.

Suspecting that the body of worker was buried under a large concrete block of the plants operation center next to the stream, sappers used driller to dig the soil.

A drill is being used to break up a large concrete block next to the stream.

A worker of Rao Trang 3 hydropower plant burns incense at the scene.

An employee of the RaoTrang 3 hydropower plant burns incense at the site to commemorate his dead colleagues.

A small altar filled with flower, fruits and cakes is placed in the middle of Rao Trang 3 area where 13 workers were still listed missing 12 days after the incident.

A small altar of flowers, fruits, cakes and incense has been placed in the middle of RaoTrang 3 area.

Around 4 p.m.  the fifth body was found near the mountainside next to a dump truck buried by rubble. According to landslide survivors at the hydropower plant and confirmation by family members, the fifth victim is Truong Van Noi, from Loc Ha District in the central Ha Tinh Province, who was thrown from an excavator when the landslide occurred. Based on information from landslide survivors, rescue teams had focused on the buried excavator area while searching for the missing victims, one rescuer said.

Around 4 p.m. on Sunday the fifth body was found near the mountainside next to a dump truck buried by rubble. Landslide survivors and relatives have confirmed that the body is of Truong Van Noi of Loc Ha District in the central province of Ha Tinh. He is believed to have been thrown from an excavator when the landslide occurred.
"Based on information from landslide survivors, rescue teams had focused on the buried excavator area while searching for the missing victims," one rescuer said.

About 100 meters from the site are field camps set up for the rescuers to rest. Due to fears for landslide, the rescuers would return to Rao Trang 4 to stay overnight and the next morning come back to Rao Trang 3 to search for the missing victims.

About 100 meters from the accident site are field camps set up for the rescuers to rest. Given the risk of further landslides, the rescuers return to Rao Trang 4 and stay there overnight before continuing the search the next morning.

About 300 meters from the scene is also the accommodation of construction workers at Rao Trang 3. Since the landslide incident occurred, many workers have voluntarily stayed there to join rescue forces in looking for colleagues.We still encouraged each other to find the bodies of missing colleague at any cost and then bring them to their hometowns for funeral services, said a worker identified as Truong Quang Duong.As of Saturday night, five workers have been retrieved and 12 others still listed missing.

About 300 meters from the site is also a makeshift accommodation for construction workers at the Rao Trang 3 plant. After the landslide, many workers have voluntarily stayed on to join rescue forces in looking for their colleagues.
"We are pushing ourselves to find the bodies of our missing colleagues at any cost and then bring them to their hometowns for proper funeral services," said Truong Quang Duong.
Search operations are ongoing for the remaining 12 landslide victims.

 
 
go to top