Massive Buddha statue collapses while under construction in northern Vietnam

By Dang Hanh, Thanh Nien News

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A photo taken by a local man shows the Buddha statue just days before it collapsed on Tuesday afternoon. A photo taken by a local man shows the Buddha statue just days before it collapsed on Tuesday afternoon.

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A Buddha statue, slated to become the tallest one in northern Vietnam, suddenly collapsed while under construction on Tuesday afternoon, local authorities said.
Officials in Thai Binh Province, where the statue was being built at the famous temple Sac Thien Vuong Quan Am, on Wednesday said that they are investigating into the collapse.
The 20-meter-high statue was taking shape on top of a 10-meter-high foundation. 
A group of workers left the site just minutes before the statue came tumbling down. 
None of them was hurt.
 The statue collapses on Tuesday afternoon. Photo: Lao Dong.
According to an official in charge of religious affairs, local authorities have yet to license the construction. 
"We only learnt about it after it collapsed,” said Pham Quang Duat, the Deputy head of the Thai Binh Religious Department. “The temple has never informed us of the construction before.”
He added that the province granted the temple a 5,000-meter-square piece of land for an upgrade project. 
The Buddhist temple, also known simply as as the Soc Temple, was built in the 13th century and has been rebuilt and upgraded over the past three years, with donations from Buddhists.
Thousands of Buddhist followers still visit the site on every religious event or public holiday. 

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