The authorities of the Central Highlands province Lam Dong and rescue forces are racing against time to rescue workers trapped under ground after part of a tunnel of the Da Dang-Dachomo hydropower plant collapsed on the early morning of December 16.

Present at the scene, Chairman of the provincial People’s Committee Doan Van Viet said that the province has mobilised more than 100 firefighters, rescue workers, traffic police and medical staff to rescue the victims.

However, rescue work is facing difficulties due to the rainy and cold weather combined with weak soil, he said, adding that only one wrist-sized pipe has been installed through the collapsed land to provide the trapped workers with oxygen.

The rescue workers are going to put a large steel tube through the collapsed tunnel to allow workers to escape through it.

According to an initial report, when the incident occurred, 12 workers, including a woman, were working in the tunnel, about 500m from the hatch. No causalities have been reported to date.

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