Electric wire kills another city boy; blame unassigned

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A teenage school boy was electrocuted to death in Ho Chi Minh City Tuesday when he touched a live wire as he walked past a construction site in the rain.

The incident was the city’s third such death in 5 months.

Local residents in Thu Duc District found Huynh Minh Khanh 15 minutes after he was electrocuted by a wire between a construction site on the Suoi Nhum drainage system and a neighboring medical station.

It was drizzling at the time and neither the drain contractor nor the medical station took responsibility for the death.

The 14-year-old was on a shortcut home from school at around 5pm when he came in contact with the live wire. He was rushed to Thu Duc Hospital but doctors said he had been killed on the spot.

His body had curled up and his face was scratched as he had been thrown by the electric current.

Lam Thi Mai, Khanh’s mother whose husband left when Khanh was a baby, said she worked at factory from 7a.m. to 6p.m., so she couldn’t drive him to and school, which is around 200 meters from their house.

“His death is a loss nothing else can replace,” Mai was quoted by Tuoi Tre as saying.

The area didn’t have any public electric lights and there was only one light at the construction site. No fences or signs at the 500 meter-long site warned passers-by of electric currents.

Saigon Investment Joint Stock Co. is the contractor on the project invested in by the HCMC Irrigation Management Company.

Although kids usually gathered to play at the site, holes 5-6 square meters wide and 3-4 meters deep were unfenced. Nguyen Ngoc Tuyen, vice manager of the construction project, said his unit was not responsible for the accident as it had finished construction in December.

Tuyen said the electric wire must have been powering the medical station.

The local government has given Khanh’s family VND5 million (US$271) for their loss.

Police are investigating the cause of the electrical leak.

Wrongful deaths

Khanh was the third student killed by electricity in HCMC recently, local newswire Vnexpress reviewed Wednesday.

In September last year, 10-year-old Tran Trung Huy was electrocuted by an electric pole when playing football on the sidewalk, one month after eighth grader Co Quoc Duy was killed while riding his bike near an electric box on a flooded street.

Duy’s uncle, lawyer Co Le Huy, had asked that authorities responsible for the leak be punished. He told newswire Vietnamnet on Wednesday that investigators had informed him they won’t press charges in the case because “it happened for an objective reason: rain water flooded the electric box.”

Huy said his family has sent letters protesting the decision but had yet to receive a response.

“My family will follow the case to the very end to comfort ourselves over Duy’s death and to warn authorities about their mismanagement in order to avoid similar painful incidents,” he was quoted by the newswire.

Reported by Phuong Thanh

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