A construction firm director and two government officials have been sentenced to prison terms of up to 10 years in connection with the collapse of a bridge in northern Vietnam last year.
The Chu Va 6 Bridge in Lai Chau Province's Tam Duong District, collapsed when a funeral procession moved across it on Feb. 24, 2014, leaving eight people dead and 39 injured.
The People's Court of Lai Chau on Thursday sentenced Nguyen Van Ky, director of Ki Hoa Company that built the suspension bridge, to 10-year imprisonment for violating construction regulations.
Hoang Dinh Van, the deputy head of a district-level unit in charge of infrastructure construction (known officially as the Project Management Unit, or PMU), who supervised the bridge construction, was sentenced to three years in prison for irresponsibility.
Bui Hai Son, a technician at the PMU, received a three-year sentence for violating construction regulations.
The court also banned Ky and Son from taking construction-related jobs for five years after their jail term, and Van for two years.
Ky, Son and Van were also ordered to compensate the victims’ families more than VND2.5 billion (US$114,600), including VND120 million each for families of the deceased.
Investigation by the transport ministry after the collapse found that Ky's company had produced and used faulty turnbuckles for the bridges, and made other technical errors.
The bridge collapsed after one of its turnbuckles broke, sending people into into a ravine full of large, sharp rocks 9 meters below.
In the aftermath of the tragedy, the media questioned the responsibility of Do Chien Thang, the PMU head, who was the son-in-law of the Party chief of Lai Chau Province.
The police said, however, that Thang's wrongdoings were not so serious as to be investigated criminally.