A scaffolding collapse at Vung Ang Economic Zone in Ha Tinh Province late Tuesday has killed at least 16 construction workers and injured 27, officials said.
Nguyen Huy Tang of the Ha Tinh border guard said the accident occurred at around 8 p.m. when the workers were building the scaffold, which stood between 30 meters to 40 meters high, in the Ha Tinh Steel Complex & Son Duong Port, invested by Formosa Plastics Group.
The collapsed scaffold was part of a project contracted by a labor supply company based in the central city of Da Nang and invested by Samsung C&T, a subsidiary of Samsung.
“A tunnel below the scaffold structure has hindered rescue work,” Tang said. “All available resources have been mobilized to rescue around other 100 workers trapped under the rubble.”
At least 27 injured workers have been rushed to the Ha Tinh General Hospital for further treatment. All the victims are Vietnamese.
Deputy Prime Minister Hoang Trung Hai and local leaders have arrived at the scene to instruct rescue work.
Last July, also in Vung Ang Economic Zone, two Vietnamese workers were killed and three others severely injured after a scaffold collapsed at the construction site of a water plant of a future steel mill owned by Formosa.
Formosa Ha Tinh Steel Corporation, a unit of Formosa Plastics Group, has been building a huge steel complex in Vung Ang. The project recruits around 40,000 laborers, 5,659 of whom are Chinese.
In early this month, the Government Inspectorate found that that managers at the Vung Ang Economic Zone went beyond their authority and broke quite a few rules when offering too many incentives to Formosa. Among the violations, according to the Government Inspectorate, the Formosa Plastics Group’s Ha Tinh Steel Complex & Son Duong Port was illegally licensed for a 70-year period.
Vietnam's Investment Law states that a foreign-invested project must not last more than 50 years, and if necessary, the government may extend the length of the project for 20 more years. The government, however, has not given any extension to the Formosa project yet.
The Formosa plant in Ha Tinh became the unlikely target of anti-China violence triggered by China's illegal deployment of a US$1-billion oil rig in Vietnamese waters on May 2, 2014.
Rioters torched, looted, and vandalized the construction site of the Taiwanese investor.
The incident on May 14 left three Chinese workers dead and 149 others, both Chinese and Vietnamese, injured.