Two ministers arrived at the scene of the hydropower plant accident in the Central Highlands province of Lam Dong on December 17 to supervise efforts to rescue 12 workers trapped inside the collapsed tunnel at the construction site of Da Dang – Da Chomo hydropower plant.

Minister of Construction Trinh Dinh Dung and Minister of Industry and Trade Vu Huy Hoang emphasised that the foremost priority should be given to rescuing the workers.

The Construction Minister instructed that prompt measures be taken as soon as possible to drain water from the tunnel to ensure safety for the workers, as the water level is rising.

Minister Vu Huy Hoang said a mining rescue team of the Vietnam National Coal-Mineral Industries Group is on the way to the site for help.

Rescue operation is urgently underway, with sappers reinforcing the tunnel and digging into the blocking rock and soil to make holes to bring the victims out.

Earlier, the rescuers installed an air conduit to allow oxygen to pass and make contact with the trapped workers, including one woman.

Through the air conduit, they delivered water, milk, and soup to the workers, who informed that they are all in stable health condition.

Also on December 17, the Ho Chi Minh City fire-fighting police deployed 45 officers and 4 cars of different kinds to the scene to join the rescue mission.

Work on the Da Dang-Dachomo plant kicked off in 2003. The 475 trillion VND (22.6 billion USD) plant, invested by the Civil Engineering Construction Corp. No. 5 (CIENCO 5), is designed to have a capacity of 22 MW.

The collapsed site is about 500 metres from the opening of the 700-m-long tunnel running though the mountain to bring water to the plant.

Thirty-two workers were in the tunnel when the collapse occurred and 20 of them were able to escape.-VNA