Pier of unbuilt bridge sinks boat, kills mother, daughter

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A woman and her daughter were killed when a 10m-tall concrete pier of a bridge that was never built fell on a boat Sunday night in the Mekong Delta City of Can Tho.


The accident happened when Duong Dac Thang, 42, was driving a boat carrying 17 tons of bricks on the Rach Cam River to make a delivery at Rach Cam Bridge. His wife, 39-year-old Phan Thi Bich Hanh, and his daughter, ten-year-old Duong Thi Diem Hang, were also on board.


As they passed the pier, it toppled over and fell on it. The pier had been installed five years ago for construction of the Binh Thuy No.2 Bridge, a project that was later abandoned because its location was changed to a few kilometers away.


Thang managed to swim to the river bank to ask for help, while Hanh and Hang went missing as the boat sank.


Hanh's body was recovered later the same day, with her chest broken by the pier. Hang's body was found the next morning.


Nguyen Hoang Nam, secretary of Binh Thuy District Party unit, said although local authorities and the city's transport department had asked the bridge's investor many times to remove the pier but the latter had not made any effort to do so. 


The bridge's contractor, Civil Engineering Construction Joint Stock Company No 586., also made no plans to remove the pier or set up warning signs, Nam said.


Locals said hundreds of accidents have taken place around the pier over the past five years.


An investigation has been launched into the accident, local officials said.


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