|Rescue teams search for the victims buried in the Sub-zone 67 in central Thừa Thiên Huế Province. VNA/VNS Photo|
THỪA THIÊN HUẾ — Thirteen bodies found near a landslide-hit hydropower plant in central Viet Nam are believed to be soldiers who had attempted to rescue workers trapped in the plant.
The bodies were found in sub-zone 67 of the Bồ River Forest Ranger Station, where 13 soldiers were trapped by a landslide on their way to Rào Trăng 3 Hydropower Plant on a rescue mission, the People’s Committee of the central Thừa Thiên-Huế Province has announced.
By Thursday afternoon, rescuers had identified the location of the 13 missing members of a rescue team in sub-zone 67, more than 10km from main roads, and the first bodies have been pulled out of the area.
The identities of the victims have yet to be determined.
They were believed to be among 13 missing soldiers who set off for the under-construction Rào Trăng 3 Hydropower Plant on Monday night to rescue 17 stranded workers buried under a landslide at the plant.
Among 21 members of the rescue team, authorities lost contact with 13 after they were hit by the landslide.
The rescue mission in the area has strengthened with 10 excavators to support the search. More people were believed to be buried in the area.
Sniffer dogs have also been used to search for victims.
The rescue forces have zoned off the key parts of the search area, racing against time to find the victims as heavy downpours forecast for the coming days look set to hinder the search.
Rescue efforts to reach Rào Trăng 3 Hydropower Plant are underway. The provincial police have used high-speed boats to cross the reservoir of Hương Điền Hydro-power to approach the dam of the plant.
So far, rescue forces have taken 24 experts and workers, including those who escaped the landslide and fled to the now isolated Rào Trăng 4, to Bình Điền General Hospital for treatment.
They also removed the body of one person who had died at the plant in Phong Xuân Commune, Phong Điền District, the central province of Thừa Thiên-Huế.
Heavy rainfall on the way
At a conference on Thursday morning, Deputy Head of the Central Steering Committee for Natural Disaster Prevention and Control and Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Nguyễn Xuân Cường said the tropical turbulence in the East Sea, combined with a cold spell, would continue causing heavy rainfall for the central region in the coming days.
The rainfalls were expected to last until October 20 from Hà Tĩnh to Phú Yên provinces.
Director of the National Centre for Hydrometeorological Forecasting Mai Văn Khiêm said the tropical turbulence entered the East Sea on Thursday morning and would likely develop into a storm.
From October 15-20, a tropical depression, when combined with extreme weather, would cause severe heavy rainfall for the central region.
Deputy Head of the Central Steering Committee for Natural Disaster Prevention and Control Trần Quang Hoài said localities must focus on monitoring the flood discharge of the Hoà Bình, Tuyên Quang, Sơn La, and Thác Bà reservoirs.
The Central Steering Committee has asked the National Committee for Natural Disaster Response and Search and Rescue to attend to the urgent relief needs of the flood-hit provinces. — VNS