Fifth body retrieved from hydropower plant landslide, 12 still missing

By Vo Thanh   October 24, 2020 | 06:00 am PT
Fifth body retrieved from hydropower plant landslide, 12 still missing
Rescuers prepare to move a body found at a landslide site at Rao Trang 3 hydropower plant in Thua Thien-Hue Province, central Vietnam, October 24, 2020. Photo by VnExpress/Van An.
Rescue teams retrieved the body of another worker buried by a landslide near Thua Thien-Hue Province's Rao Trang 3 hydropower plant Saturday afternoon, with 12 others still missing.

The body of the worker was located near the mountainside next to a dump truck buried by rubble and only about 30 meters from the area where the bodies of two other workers were found Friday.

This was the fifth body recovered from the landslide that occurred on October 12 at a construction site near the hydropower plant, located deep in the jungle, around 30 kilometers (18.6 miles) from Phong Xuan Commune People's Committee in Phong Dien District of the central province. A total 17 workers were reportedly asleep when they were buried in the incident.

The first two bodies, one from neighboring Quang Tri and the other from Central Highlands' Dak Nong Province, were found and identified last week.

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.

On Saturday morning, over 100 rescuers and 12 vehicles were dispatched to the scene to search for the victims. Authorities are stepping 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.

Since October 6, Thua Thien-Hue and other parts of the central region have been drenched by torrential rains, triggering floods and landslides that resulted in at least 123 deaths.

The day the hydropower plant was hit by landslide, a 21-member rescue team was dispatched to the scene. They stopped at a ranger station to rest for the night and was hit by a rocky landslide at midnight. Only eight people managed to escape while the other 13, including high-rank military officers, were confirmed dead more than two days later.

A few days after the two deadly landslides in Thua Thien-Hue, a landslide in neighboring Quang Tri Province early on Sunday killed 22 soldiers in what might be Vietnam's biggest military loss in peace time.

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