At a tele-conference reviewing traffic safetyheld in Hanoi on February 25, Phuc, who is also head of the NationalTraffic Safety Committee, directed localities to inspect all suspensionbridges, especially those in mountainous regions. He cited the disasterin Lai Chau as a lesson for others.
The accident occurred ataround 8am on February 24 in Son Binh commune, Tam Duong district while afuneral procession was crossing from the village of Chu Va 8 towardsChu Va 6. According to Vice Chairman of the provincial People’sCommittee Nguyen Chuong, the bridge became overloaded, causing cables tobreak and sending the victims plummeting into the rocky streams below.
Minister of Transport Dinh La Thang the same day made anemergency trip to the province, where he extended the condolences ofGovernment leaders, the National Traffic Safety Committee and theSteering Committee for the Northwestern Region to the bereaved familiesand the injured. He also praised medical staff at the Lai Chau GeneralHospital for their swift response to the unfolding tragedy.
Helicopters have been deployed to carry surgeons from the Hanoi-basedViet Duc and Bach Mai hospitals to Lai Chau, while the general hospitalin neighbouring Lao Cai province has also sent medical staff forassistance.
On February 25, Thang is scheduled to call on other families of the victims and direct the post-accident recovery.
The Lai Chau General Hospital has so far conducted 12 operations onvictims with serious liver, kidney, spleen and gut injuries. Somesuffering brain injuries are waiting for further assistance fromcentral-level hospitals.
The provincial authorities and RedCross Society have offered the families of the dead 6.4 million VND (300USD) and the injured, 3.2 million VND (152 USD), each.
The 54-metre-long bridge was opened in December 2012 with a capacity of supporting loads up to 1.5 tonnes.-VNA
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