Building construction halted after fatal accident in Vietnam capital

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Authorities in Hanoi Wednesday suspended the construction of a building after one worker was killed and four others were critically injured in a scaffold collapse the day before.

Bach Quoc Viet, chief of the Labor Safety Office under the Hanoi Department of Labors, Invalids and Social Affairs, told Thanh Nien initial enquiries showed that the collapse started at the ninth floor of the Melberry Lane building in Ha Dong District.

At that time, two groups of workers under two different sub-contractors were working at the same time: one was mortaring outside the building, and the other was installing glass windows inside, Viet said, citing reports from the project's contractor, China State Construction Engineering Corporation.

When the inside group finished their job, they took out some bearers on the scaffold, making it loose, the contractor said.

In the end the scaffold collapsed, burying five workers who were walking under, it said.

The victims were rushed to the nearby Military Hospital 103, but one of them died due to multiple injuries and brain trauma.

Viet said this was just the report from the contractor, and that related agencies were investigating the case further before drawing final conclusions.

When the accident happened, nearly 4,000 workers were working on the site and the main contractor was responsible for their general safety, he said.

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Meanwhile, Pham Van Trang, 28, one of the four survivors, told the VnExpress newswire that he was mortaring outside the seventh floor together with four other people when the accident happened.

"The scaffolding was made of steel and quite strong. When I was working, I heard some noises and then the scaffold suddenly broke," he said. "I had nothing to hold on to, so I fell down and lost consciousness."

Initial information is that work on the 14,000 square-meter building started in 2010 with a total investment of US$170 million from a joint-venture between Singapore-based CapitalLand Group and Vietnamese-owned Hoang Thanh Company.

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