Crane truck accident causes massive power outage in southern Vietnam

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Traffic congestion on Le Trong Tan Street, Tan Binh District, HCMC following an abrupt power outage on May 22

The massive power outage that struck in Ho Chi Minh City and Vietnam's southern provinces Wednesday was caused by the cargo of a crane truck that struck a main cable.

The incident, which unleashed chaos in streets, schools, hospitals and businesses throughout HCMC, took place at around 2 p.m. and the power was not resumed for several hours, the country's power monopoly Electricity of Vietnam (EVN) said in a press release.

According to the company, the blackout began when a 10-meter-long tree being carried by a crane truck came in contact with a section of the north-south 500kV power grid in the southern province of Binh Duong, causing an electrical discharge.

As a result, all generators in the area were disturbed, along with the 220kV and 110kV cables, it said.

Related agencies confiscated the truck for further investigation, EVN said.

A report on VnExpress quoted truck driver Ngo Tan Thao as saying that he was in the process of lowering the tree into a garden when it struck the cable.

A big explosion followed, he said, adding that he jumped out of the truck at that time and received a minor electric shock.

By 4 p.m. the power had been resumed to parts of HCMC including Thu Duc District, Tan Binh District, and District 1.

However, as Thanh Nien reporters observed, traffic congestion had already worsened considerably at many intersections in the city following the shutdown of traffic lights.

Local companies, meanwhile, complained of losses caused by the outage, including necessary expenditures to run alternate generators.

At many schools, classes ended early, while doctors complained of possible negative impacts the unexpected outage could have on patients.

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