Vietnamese man buried alive in sewage ditch

Absconded Vietnamese worker buried alive in sewage trench in Yilan City

Rescue personnel try to retrieve man trapped in sewage ditch. (By Central News Agency)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) -- While digging a trench to for a sewer line on Zhongshan Road in Yilan City in northeastern Taiwan, a Vietnamese worker was suddenly buried alive when the soil the crew had unearthed suddenly collapsed on him and was later pronounced dead after rescue efforts failed, reported Apple Daily

At 10:30 a.m., while the Vietnamese worker and the foreman surnamed Lin (林) were sitting in the bucket of an excavator after digging a trench to install a new sewer pipe, a huge mound of earth suddenly collapsed on them. Lin was able pull himself to safety and grabbed the hand of the Vietnamese man, but he was buried too deep for him to pull him out. The man remained buried for another hour and a half before workers were finally able to extract him. 

When he was finally pulled from the rubble, at 11:55 a.m., he was coated in mud and not showing any vital signs, so rescue workers immediately started CPR and then sent him to the emergency room. However, doctors were not able to resuscitate him and he was declared dead at 12:30 p.m. 

According to a police investigation, the man, identified as Luu Anh Quy, 37, had first come to Taiwan to work for a construction company in November of last year. However, on May 11 he absconded from his job, and had disappeared for 123 days. 

The Department of Public works said the project has been suspended pending the investigation into the cause of the accident. The department said that the contractor had dug a trench 1.6 meters in depth and had not followed proper soil retaining procedures, exposing workers to such a dangerous scenario. The contractor also violated the law in hiring the absconded worker Luu.

The northern office of the Ministry of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has been notified to begin an emergency investigation into the incident.