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Helicopters may be used in Rào Trăng 3 Hydropower Plant rescue mission

Update: October, 14/2020 - 13:13
Rescue soldiers are ready to go to the Rào Trăng 3 Hydropower Plant. — VNA/VNS Photo Trần Lê Lâm

THỪA THIÊN-HUẾ — Two helicopters are ready to search for 30 missing victims of a landslide at a hydropower plant in central Việt Nam, which has claimed at least three lives so far.

The helicopters may be sent to the Rào Trăng 3 Hydropower Plant in Phong Xuân Commune, Phong Điền District, the central province of Thừa Thiên-Huế, a military spokesperson said on Wednesday morning.

The spokesperson also told Zing online newspaper that the Ministry of Defence had agreed to fly but they cannot take off yet due to the weather. When the weather is better, the helicopters will bring a rescue team to the plant.

Two helicopters and two flight crews of army Division 372 are ready at the nearby Phú Bài Airport waiting for orders. Colonel Vũ Hồng Sơn, chief of Division 372, and a number of unit commanders are at the headquarters, located in Phong Xuân Commune, to direct the rescue.

Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Nguyễn Xuân Cường and Lieutenant General Nguyễn Tân Cương, Deputy Minister of Defence on Tuesday evening met with leaders of Thừa Thiên-Huế Province and Military Region 4 on the plan to approach the landslide at Rào Trăng 3 Hydropower Plant.

Military Region 4 is implementing three different options to approach the landslide place.

The first option is for a motor vehicle to carry engineer soldiers on route 71 into the scene. Currently, this force is about 2.5km from the location of the victims.

Option two is that the force will use boats to follow the waterway to go from Hương Điền Hydropower Plant to Rào Trăng 3 Hydropower Plant.

In addition, if the weather is favourable, Military Region 4 will use more helicopters to survey and rescue.

Authorities lost contact with 13 members of a team of military officers and soldiers sent to rescue 17 stranded workers at the plant on Monday.

The team of more than 20 members set off for the under-construction Rào Trăng 3 Hydropower Plant on Monday night to rescue 17 workers trapped at the plant, but were unable to reach the plant due to the landslide and continuing extreme weather, so stopped for the night at Forest Ranger Station No 7.

Authorities lost contact with 13 members of the rescue team late on Monday night. Other members of the team have returned safely.

In addition, 40 workers of Rào Trăng 3 Hydropower Plant, including three Indian experts, managed to escape the landslide and made it safely to Rào Trăng 4 Hydropower Plant, which is also under construction, and are isolated and are fast running out of food, according to provincial authorities.

Rescue efforts to reach these 40 workers are also underway, but the road from Rào Trăng 3 to Rào Trăng 4 is severely eroded and the only way to reach them is via the fast-flowing waterways.

A team of the provincial police did reach the plant late on Tuesday night and rushed five severely injured people to the hospital, according to vietnamplus.vn.

On Tuesday evening, Nguyễn Đại Thành, director of the Rao Trang 3 hydropower plant, informed that three deaths linked to the landslides on October 12 had been confirmed. — VNS

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