Truck driver gets five years after causing major power outage in southern Vietnam

The truck’s owner is also expected to pay $223,214 in damages to Vietnam’s power giant

Ngo Tan Thao listens to his verdict at a court in Binh Duong Province, located in southern Vietnam, on May 17, 2017.

A court sentenced a truck driver to five years in jail on Wednesday, four years after he performed a reckless maneuver that caused massive power outages throughout southern Vietnam.

Ngo Tan Thao, 30, was charged with “violating safety regulations on power operations” as per the penal code.

The Binh Duong Province court also required that the truck’s owner, Tran Van Nhich, pay over VND5 billion (US$223,214) to Vietnam Electricity (EVN) to cover damage caused by the massive blackout that affected 7.7 million EVN customers in 18 southern provinces.

The scene of the incident that led to the massive outage
The scene of the incident that led to the massive outage

According to the indictment, on May 22, 2013, Thao was hired by Nhich to transport evergreen trees from a local plantation to Binh Duong New City using a crane truck.

While he was moving a 17.5-meter-tall tree, the top of the plant hit a 500 KV transmission line in the national power grid, resulting in immediate power failures in 18 southern provinces.

EVN was forced to use oil-powered generators to produce back-up electricity for its customers, leading to VND5.06 billion ($226,250) in damages, according to the utility’s report assessed by the Binh Duong trade department.

EVN is the only entity affected by the massive outage to lodge a complaint for compensation.

Nhich said he would file an appeal, believing that the damage caused to EVN by the incident could not have amounted to VND5 billion.

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