Driver arrested in central Vietnam truck tragedy

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Police in the central province of Nghe An Friday arrested the driver of the timber truck which overturned two days earlier, killing ten people and injuring five.

He faced charges of "violating traffic safety regulations, causing critical accidents," the Tuoi Tre newspaper reported.

Vuong Dinh Hanh, 27, was arrested while he was under treatment at the Nghe An General Hospital, the newspaper quoted Tran Viet Hoa, chief of Nghe An Province's social crimes investigation team (PC45), as saying.

The driver sustained serious injuries together with four others in the Wednesday accident, and was in full possession of his senses when being arrested, Hoa said.

Meanwhile, Ho Ngoc Si, deputy director of Nghe An's agriculture department, said in the Tuoi Tre report that Dao Cong Thang, chief of a forest rangers' station under the management board of Pu Huong Reserve, suspected of involvement in the illegally logged timber that the truck was carrying, was absconding.

Si said that on Friday, Thang came to the management board's center to report about accident. He then asked for permission to buy some medicines, but never came back.

Previously, the newspaper had quoted Nguyen Tho Canh, director of Nghe An's agriculture department, as saying that police found a forest ranger's badge allegedly belonging to Thang at the accident site.

According to Tuoi Tre, locals who live nearby said shortly after the truck overturned, a car came to rescue a forest ranger who sneaked out of the truck's cockpit. They also said some people removed more than of half of timber from the site.


Le Cao Binh, chief of the provincial Forest Management Department, told Thanh Nien on Thursday that the timber confiscated from the truck had been smuggled.

The deadly accident happened on National Highway 48C in the mountainous district of Con Cuong at around 3:30 a.m. after reportedly slipping down a slope. Seven men died on the spot and three others died on the way to a nearby hospital.

Preliminary investigation found that the 12 men sitting on the timber at the back were crushed under its massive weight.

The case is being investigated further.

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