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Backside drill to successfully reach trapped workers

Update: December, 19/2014 - 22:13
The first worker is carried out of the tunnel on Friday. -- Photo VnExpress

LAM DONG (VNS) -- Twelve workers trapped in a collapsed tunnel in the Central Highlands province of Lam Dong for nearly 81 hours were successfully rescued on Friday.

The tunnel is located in the Da Dang-Da Chomo hydropower project's construction site in Lac Duong District.

The workers were found in good health. They were brought to the provincial General Hospital for medical examinations and treatment. The sole female worker was the weakest when found, feeling dazed and showing signs of low blood pressure. She is now in stable condition, following treatment.

Nguyen Ba Hy, director of the hospital, said the workers were in good health, but would continue receiving medical supervision and psychological treatment.

One trapped worker, Hoang Van Son, 25, from the northern province of Nam Dinh, told Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper that he felt very scared, and even hopeless, while stuck in the tunnel.

"When the water in the trapped area raised up to our necks yesterday, we all started to lose our self-possession," he said. "However, when we heard voices and received encouragement from rescue forces, as well as food and drinks, we regained hope that we would be rescued."

"We kept waiting and could not believe that we were rescued so fast," he said.

 Dang Thi Hong Ngoc, 26, is the sole female worker who were trapped in the tunnel. -- Photo VnExpress

Doan Van Viet, chairman of the provincial People's Committee, said the rescue was accomplished much more quickly than expected.

"We are happy to know that all the workers are in good health," he said.

The two new tunnels created to rescue the workers progressed smoothly. Rescuers managed to advance 20m in the right tunnel and 12m in the left one since 2:30 p.m. on Friday.

Rescuers discovered a hole in the left tunnel. They decided to explore the hole, and found the workers in a part of the original tunnel that had not yet collapsed.

Work on the hydropower plant started in 2003. The VND475-trillion (US$22.6 billion) plant, financed by Civil Engineering Construction Corp. No. 5 (CIENCO 5), is designed with a production capacity of 22 MW.

The collapsed tunnel is about 500m from the entrance of the 700m-long tunnel that runs though the mountain to bring water to the plant. -- VNS

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