At midnight Monday, a collapsing hill in Phong Xuan Commune, Phong Dien District, buried the plant's operation center inside which several employees were sleeping. Many were subsequently reported missing. Heavy rains and floods have since hampered rescue teams in accessing the site.
Since last week, central Vietnam has been hit by torrential rains, floods and landslides after a cold spell came in contact with tropical turbulence.
On Monday, the provincial Steering Committee for Natural Disaster Prevention, Control and Rescue received an SOS concerning over 10 construction workers buried by a landslide at Rao Trang 3 hydropower plant, deep within the jungle, around 30 km (18.6 miles) from Phong Xuan Commune People's Committee in Phong Dien District.
The workers had been asleep inside the plant's operation center when the landslide hit.
A search soon commenced, with rescue teams comprising police officers, firefighters and medics. Sniffer dogs were also deployed to aid the search.
However, the same night, another landslide buried a rescue team recouping at a ranger station, located about 13 km from the Rao Trang 3 landslide. Thirteen people were reported missing following the incident. A search is ongoing.
On Wednesday, 10 firefighters sailed to the site by boats.
The vessels, however, only managed to reach Rao Trang 4 hydropower plant (around 10 km from Rao Trang 3).
Firefighters had to employ bulldozers to help bring their boats on land and traverse Rao Trang 4.
Due to landslide damage, the rescue team had to trek about 2 km through the jungle before reaching Rao Trang 3.
Ten firefighters were among the first to reach the site, four days after it had buried the Rao Trang 3 workers.
Bulldozers clear away debris to speed up rescue efforts.
Several vehicles and other machinery lie scattered around the site following the landslide.
Rocks and boulders from nearby mountains inundate the site.
At Binh Dien Hospital in Huong Tra Town, family members of 22-year-old construction worker Ho Van Dieu, said he was about to fall asleep near the Rao Trang 3 operation center Sunday night when he heard a loud explosion.
Following the landslide, Dieu and four colleagues tried in vain to rescue another worker trapped beneath a pile of rubble. Momentarily forced to take cover, the group eventually managed to free the man, whom they delivered to safety at Rao Trang 4 on foot.
Thua Thien-Hue police on Tuesday managed to reach Rao Trang 4 and transfer the five workers to hospital.
With floods subsiding, bulldozers continue their search for the missing.
Nguyen Thanh Tuan, head of the Thua Thien-Hue police department, said rescue teams would resume their search at Rao Trang 3 on Thursday. As of Wednesday, 25 people had been found and delivered from the site, though one eventually succumed to his injuries. A total 16 workers remain missing.
An aerial shot over the A Lin B2 hydropower plant, located near Rao Trang 3 reveals the plant to be safe. Provincial authorities managed to contact 14 workers at A Lin B2 following a communication blackout of several days.
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