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Bodies of seven rescue team members retrieved from landslide rubble

Thursday, 15/10/2020 GMT+7

The bodies of seven out of 13 members of a rescue team buried by a landslide in Thua Thien Hue Province’s Phong Dien District have been retrieved.

Search operations are on for the remaining six.

The seven bodies were found around 2:30 p.m. Thursday at ranger station 67 in Phong Xuan Commune. Their identities have not been disclosed.

The 13 declared missing since Monday night were part of a 21-member rescue team that had set out to verify reports of workers buried by another landslide on a construction site near the Rao Trang 3 hydropower plant located deep in the jungle, more than 10 kilometers away from ranger station 67.

At around midnight Monday, a collapsing hill had buried the plant's operation center inside which several employees were sleeping. Heavy rains and flooding have hampered rescue teams in accessing the site. Of the 17 workers reported buried, one was found dead on Wednesday. The other 16 are still listed as missing.

Since last week, Thua Thien-Hue and other parts of the central region have been drenched by torrential rains, triggering floods and landslides.

On Monday, the provincial Steering Committee for Natural Disaster Prevention, Control and Rescue received a phone call about the landslide near the Rao Trang 3 hydropower plant. The informant had climbed a mountain to make the call. The phone number was reported out of service later.

The same night, a 21 member-rescue team had been dispatched to the scene to verify the incident. They stopped at the ranger station 67 to rest for the night. A rocky landslide hit the station’s rooms. Eight members of the team managed to escape. The remaining 13, including team leader Nguyen Van Man, deputy commander of the 4th Military Region of Vietnam People's Army, were declared missing.

Rescue forces have stepped up efforts to look for the missing victims as heavy rains are forecast to hit Thua Thien-Hue Province Thursday night.


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