Before a scaffold weighing hundreds of metric tons collapsed Wednesday night, killing at least 13 Vietnamese and injuring 28 others at a construction site in north-central Vietnam, many workers had fled the site after feeling it shake but were forced to return to work.
The victims who survived the accident and other witnesses confirmed that many workers ran away from the site before thescaffold collapsed, adding that they were compelled to return to work by a South Korean manager.
The accident happened at a construction site in the Taiwanese-invested Formosa Industrial Park in Ha Tinh Province.
Nguyen Van Hanh, 24, from the north-central province of Quang Binh, survived the collapse but is still being treated for injuries at the Ky Anh General Hospital in Ha Tinh. He recalled that, “I was working at the site then and felt the scaffold under my feet shake and sway twice.
“Someone was shouting to alert us that the scaffold was about to collapse and we all fled the scene.
“Ten minutes later, a South Korean manager demanded that the workers return and reassured them that it was safe.
“The workers returned and several minutes later, the entire scaffolding weighing hundreds of metric tons fell down with a crash.”
Another worker, Nguyen Van Linh, 23, from Ky Anh District, Ha Tinh, agreed with the above details.
The collapse occurred at 8:00 pm at the construction site of the Son Duong Port, owned by Samsung C&T Corp, a unit of South Korea's Samsung Group, in the Formosa Industrial Park, which is located in the Vung Ang economic zone.
Around 700 rescuers were present at the scene throughout the night to search for victims still stuck under the rubble.
The 25m-tall scaffold was about 40m in length and 30m in width.
The investor has yet to confirm the exact number of workers present at the scaffolding collapse site.
A brief report by the Ha Tinh Department of Health said that a total of 61 people were injured but many left the scene on their own.