Crane driver behind massive blackout gets jail time

Update: May, 18/2017 - 14:52
Ngô Tiến Thảo at the court on Wednesday.— VNA/VNS Photo Hải Âu
Viet Nam News

BÌNH DƯƠNG — The People’s Court of Thủ Dầu Một City on Wednesday sentenced Ngô Tiến Thảo, 30, to five years imprisonment for violating regulations on safely operating electricity works.

According to the indictment, Thảo controlled a crane on May 22, 2013, to move young dầu (Dipterocarpus alatus) trees from a nursery to plant in other areas. While Thảo was moving a 17.5m tree, the tree accidentally bumped into a 500KV transmission line belonging to the national power grid, causing an explosion. It instantly resulted in a massive blackout in 18 southern provinces on that day.

The police said the incident caused severe economic damage and negatively affected daily lives of residents in these provinces.

According to Bình Dương Province’s Industry and Trade Department, Electricity of Việt Nam (EVN) was forced to hire diesel generators to temporarily provide electricity for customers before the problem was fixed, which cost EVN some VNĐ5 billion (US$22,000).

The court also ordered Trần Văn Nhích, who hired Thảo to move the trees from the nursery, to pay compensation of VNĐ5 billion ($22,000) to EVN.—VNS