THAI NGUYEN — Four Australian and Canadian mining experts have joined the search for five people who were buried in a landslide at the Phan Me landfill site in northern Thai Nguyen Province.
The foreign mining experts, who work for Nui Phao Mining Company, have joined 500 other rescue workers in the search for the missing people.
Nine excavators, five trucks and a bulldozer are being used to clear a five-metre-wide layer of land and rock under which the victims are thought to be buried.
Deputy chairman of the provincial People's Committee Dang Viet Thuan said rescue workers were having to remove a huge volume of soil and rock, which has been hampering the search for the missing men and women.
The search would focus on two possible locations where the victims lie trapped, said Vu Van Bang, deputy director of the Viet Nam Union of Science and Technology Associations' Water and Environment Technology Institute.
Some of the victims' personal belongings that included a bicycle, a gas tank, clothes and a dead dog, were found six metres below the surface in these two locations.
Meanwhile, several new cracks, some up to 20cm wide and dozens of metres long, have been reported at the landfill site, increasing the risk of landslides that threaten at least 27 families in Khuon 3 Village.
On Monday, local authorities moved eight households in Khuon 2 Village away from the landfill site to prevent further loss of life, officials said.
The landfill site – which occupies a 100-ha area in Khuon 1, Khuon 2 and Khuon 3 villages – is owned by Thai Nguyen Iron and Steel joint stock company.
At a recent meeting with commune authorities, Phan Me landfill director Nguyen Van Phong said the maximum permitted height of mining waste was 200 metres.
He added that the height of the waste "mountain" was currently 165 metres.
In 2010, the provincial Department of Natural Resources and Environment, found that the company had violated rules on the dumping of waste.
Local residents said they were in the process of being relocated when the landslide occurred early on Sunday morning, trapping seven people.
One man was injured and hospitalised but his wife was killed. — VNS