Viet Nam News
HÀ NỘI — Four children in Phú Yên Province’s Sơn Hòa District drowned on Wednesday while bathing in the water flow of a nearby hydropower plant, the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MIT) reported.
The four six-graders, Trương Sĩ Lâm, Cao Triệu Nguyên, Đoàn Anh Quân and Phạm Xuân Luật, were all 12 year-old classmates from Cung Sơn Secondary School in Sơn Hòa District, according to the school’s headmaster Trần Văn Thi.
Right after receiving the news from local authorities, the MIT’s Department of Industrial Safety and Environment asked the provincial Department of Industry and Trade to publish a thorough report about the incident.
According to their report, the incident occurred at about 9am on Wednesday about 10km from the Sông Ba Hạ Hydropower Plant on the Ba River, which was performing a scheduled water release.
In the report, local authorities said the flow hit a group of seven students from Cung Sơn School who went to the local Ba River to bathe.
The released water caused water levels to suddenly rise and wash away four of the seven children.
The four went missing while the rest escaped and ran to the local residential area for help.
The plant’s operation was immediately cancelled to support search and rescue efforts.
By 2:30pm the same day, three of the bodies were recovered in an effort supervised by the local authority.
About 100 rescuers took part in searching for the last victim, whose body was found early on Thursday, said provincial People’s Committee chairman Trần Hữu Thế.
Đặng Văn Tuấn, CEO of the hydropower plant, insisted that the plant’s water release followed an established procedure that has been in place for the past ten years.
As the release of water was for its regular electricity generation, the plant was under no obligation to notify the local administration and residents, according to Tuấn.
The authority of Phú Yên Province said they had asked the plant to make an urgent report about the water release process and find out the real cause of the tragedy. — VNS