Tunnel collapses at US$22.4 million Da Dang-Da Chromo hydroelectric project

A tunnel collapse at the site of the US$22.4 million Da Dang-Da Chromo hydroelectric project on the Da Dang River in the province of Lam Dong, Vietnam, at 7 a.m. yesterday trapped 12 workers, according to local news sources onsite.

There are no reported deaths at this time.

According to officials, a section of a tunnel caved in during construction about 500 meters from its entrance.

Rescuers were able to signal trapped workers at the Central Vietnam hydropower project, 12 hours after the tunnel caved in.

The trapped workers are “in good health,” and emergency responders are pumping oxygen into the tunnel, according to officials on site.

It is not known what caused the tunnel collapse, but locals speculate the area’s recent heavy rainfall may have contributed. Others said the area might have geologically weak features that are a contributing factor.

Rescuers will attempt to pass a pipe 2 feet in diameter through the collapsed dirt and rock so that the trapped workers can safely exit the tunnel.

Da Dong-Da Chromo is expected to provide 109.27 million kWh per year when it begins generating electricity.

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Gregory B. Poindexter formerly was an associate editor for HydroWorld.com.

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