A reported 14 construction workers died on Wednesday night (local time) at a seaport project owned by Taiwan's Formosa group when a large amount of scaffolding collapsed at 8 p.m., as reported by state-run Thanh Nien newspaper. Another 30 are injured and still in critical condition at nearby hospitals. The workers are from a Vietnamese sub-contractor hired by Samsung C&T Corp., a subsidiary of the Samsung Group.
Rescue workers are still searching the wreckage of the formerly 30-meter-high scaffolding for survivors in case more people are still trapped. Two dead are still said to be trapped in the wreckage. One injured man said that the scaffolding had started shaking an hour after they began work.
“At the construction site, there were thousands of workers, so the number of workers in distress is not yet accurately calculated,” Pham Tran De, deputy head of the zone’s management board told online VnExpress newspaper.
Ha Tinh Steel Complex & Son Duong Port is owned by the Taiwanese group Formosa Plastics. The workers had been subcontracted there to work on the construction project by Samsung C&T. Choi Chi-hun, president & CEO of Samsung C&T Corp., left Korea today for the scene of the accident to oversee the matter.
This is not the first time a Samsung C&T construction has experienced problems. Last August, the Samsung C&T construction of Seoul's Subway Line Number 9 was identified as the main cause of newly-created hollow areas under the ground in southeastern Seoul. Seven major hollowed-out areas were found to be the cause of new depressions seen in residential areas and in the streets of the Songpa-gu districts, causing traffic disruptions or cracks in buildings. The depressions have raised serious concerns about construction across the country.
At first the construction of the new Lotte World Tower was blamed for the ground deformation, bu after an investigation by Seoul officials, the probe concluded that the construction of Subway Line No. 9 caused the hollow areas. Samsung C&T had dug up some 14 percent more of the alluvial layer consisting of unconsolidated soil and sediment than originally planned, and did not actually take the necessary precautions to prevent erosion.