Collapse of Cần Thơ Bridge
The collapse of Cần Thơ Bridge was a severe construction accident in southern Vietnam. The accident occurred at 8 am local time(GMT+7) on the morning of September 26, 2007, when a 90 metre section of an approach ramp, which was over 30 metres above the ground, collapsed. There were 250 engineers and workers working on and under the span at the time it collapsed. As of September 27, the number of casualties remains unclear; one source says that there were 52 people dead and 140 injured. while other sources show that the death toll have reached 59. According to Dr. Trần Chủng, head of the national construction QA/QC authority under the Ministry of Construction of Vietnam, this is the most catastrophic disaster in the history of Vietnam's construction industry; Ho Nghia Dung, Minister of Transport, agreed.
Dung has apologized for the collapse of the bridge. Meeting with reporters on Saturday, September 29, 2007, he said, "This is the most serious problem and workplace accident in the transport sector. I apologize to all people, victims, and the victims' families."
He further suggests the main responsibility for the collapse lies with the contractor and may consider resigning when the official determination is made by relevant Vietnamese authorities.
Cần Thơ Bridge
Cần Thơ Bridge is a cable-stayed bridge under construction over the Hậu (Bassac) River, the largest distributary of the Mekong River. The 2.75 km, four-lane bridge is located in Bình Minh District, Vĩnh Long Province, opposite Cần Thơ, Mekong Delta, approximately 170 km south of Ho Chi Minh City. Prime Minister Phan Văn Khải launched its construction on September 25, 2004; it was scheduled to be completed at the end of 2008. The bridge was expected to replace the ferry system that currently runs along National Route 1A and would link Vĩnh Long Province and Cần Thơ city. The estimated construction cost was 4,832 billion vietnamese đồng (approximately US$342.6 million). The construction was under the supervision of consultant Nippon Koei-Chodai, which was working with Japanese contractors, including the Taisei Corporation, Kajima Construction and Nippon Steel. Capital for the project is funded by the Japan International Cooperation Agency which got an official development assistance loan from the Japan Bank of International Cooperation and the Vietnamese government.
Causes of the incident
The Ministries of Transport and of Public Security have created an investigation team, led by lieutenant-general Phạm Nam Tào, head of Police Division of Ministry of Public Security, to find the cause of the collapse and co-ordinate rescue efforts.
- Reuters reported that officials suggested rain might have softened the foundations.
- Another theory suggests that the early removal of the scaffolding (while the concrete structure had been filled up for just two days) may have been the cause of the accident. According to Dr. Trần Chủng, head of the national construction QA/QC authority under the Ministry of Construction of Vietnam, the collapse might have been caused by the movement of scaffolding while the concrete had been filled up just for two days, not sufficiently stable.
- Another theory is that the sinking of the scaffolding, which had to bear a 6000 metric ton concrete structure might have been the cause of the collapse In reply to the press, the Minister of Transport, Ho Nghia Dung, stated that: "...Preliminary information has shown that there have been signs of settlement of the foundation of the scaffolding. The movement of the scaffolding might have been the cause of the collapse."
- Another source suggested that there have been landslides near the river shore which forced the scaffolding to move.
Long before the collapse, on 12 January, a Japanese construction consultant recommended some specific measures for installing the temporary poles during for the scaffoldings, piling testings for their loading must be carried out in accordance with the international standards and codes. According to this consultant, Hiroshi Kudo, the loading capacity of the scaffoldings as per detailed design proposed by the contractors just meets 15% required loading. He remarked that:
- The contractors just multiplied the pile overloading ratio of 1.15 instead of 1.25 in accordance with American standard or 1.35 according to Japanese standards;
- When calculating wind force to the temporary piles, the contractors just applied a wind force of 0.5 kPa, which was too low; it should have been 2.5 kPa. He therefore required the contractor to redo their temporary pile and scaffoldings detailed engnineering design. Top leaders of the Japanese contractors flew to Vietnam and made bows in a meeting to apologize to the victims and their families. Hayama Kanji, Chairman of the Taisei Corporation said in a meeting with Vietnamese relevant authorities: "I sincerely express my deepest apology to the people and the government of Vietnam". According to NCE.co.uk, the number 0.5 and 2.5 is the coefficient for the wind loading .
Immediately following the accident, many workers at the site joined the rescue forces to take the injured out of the debris. Local people, students, and cadres also joined the rescue teams. Thirty Japanese and Filipino volunteers joined in the rescue efforts. In addition, Chợ Rẫy Hospital in Hồ Chí Minh City sent two professional rescue teams to the site. All the combined rescue efforts were put under the leadership of Hoàng Trung Hải, Vice Premier of the Government and forces from Ministries of National Defence, Public Health, Public Security, volunteer young persons, and students.
Rescue efforts have received international support. The American Chamber of Commerce in Vietnam also sent its resources located in Ho Chi Minh City, Singapore and Bangkok to Cần Thơ. The International SOS alarm centre and clinic in Ho Chi Minh City sent a first response team of three doctors, a nurse, an interpreter, and an operations manager. Rescue efforts have been carried out with cranes, not by direct entry of rescue personnel because the remaining part of the ramp is likely to collapse. 30 professional rescuers from Japan and the Philippines were dispatched to the accident site to participate rescue team. According to the BBC Vietnamese, Lưu Thành Đồng, vice director of Cần Thơ Public Transportation Service (Sở Giao thông Công chánh) in Cần Thơ, rescue efforts are expected to be completed Saturday, September 29. Lưu said "as long there are hope of survivors, the rescue efforts will continue." However, as it's been four days since the accident, the hope of finding more survivors is low.
No official number of casualties has been released by Vietnamese relevant authorities so far. As of 24:00 September 27, 2007, the casualties, as made available by the local and international newspapers, were as follows:
- According to Vietnam News Agency and CNN, 52 people dead and 149 injured.
- According to Vietnam Net, 49 corpses have been found and 181 people injured.
- According to Thanh Nien and VnExpress, 37 people dead and 87 injured, not including those not yet recovered from the debris.
- According to Tuổi Trẻ, 52 people dead, 97 injured and several survivors trapped in the debris. However, this newspaper stated 37 dead on 27 September 2007.
- According to BBC, 36 dead, nevertheless, Reuters quoted a Chinese subcontractor as saying 60 dead.
- According to the newspaper Tien Phong, 59 dead, 97 injured and still 70 trapped under the debris.
Other source shows that the death toll has reached 59. It seems that the contractor and the responsible persons have intentionally tried to give irregular number of death toll by continuously decreasing the death toll to the public despite the fact that more and more corpses have been found by the rescue teams.[clarification needed] As of October 1, the number of casualties according to Tien Phong and other local newspapers, the dead toll reached 50, 81 injured, and 3 missing. According to the statistics by rescue forces, in the afternoon of October 3, 2007, 2 more corpses have been found under the debris, and one more dead in the local hospital, raising the casualties up to 53 dead, 81 injured and one man still missing. 
Statistics from the local hospitals
- Military Hospital 121 confirmed 38 deaths.
- Cần Thơ General Hospital confirmed 8 dead.
- Hospital 30-4 confirmed 2 dead.
- Vĩnh Long Hospital confirmed 3 dead.
Blood donation at the Cần Thơ General Hospital has received significant contributions from the local young persons.
List of those killed in the accident
Vietnamnet is maintaining a list of workers who were killed in the accident. As of September 28, 2007, this list has 40 victims and it is regularly updated as soon as the official figures are revealed.
The American Chamber of Commerce in Vietnam had a "Benefit Performance Memorial" that was held on September 30, 2007. It was open to the public, at the HCMC Military Zone 7 Stadium, and was held to help raise funds for the victims' families. The memorial had singers such as Phuong Thanh and Siu Black perform to raise money.
On October 2, 2007, the Ministry of Public Security of Vietnam decided to collect all relating documents in order to define right cause, and liable individuals and organizations to take prosecution against those responsible for the collapse in accordance with Article 229 of the Penal Code of the S.R. Vietnam "Violation of construction regulations leading to the severe consequence". On October 2, 2007, Vĩnh Long Police signed a prosecution decision (Decision no. 29) against some of the sub-contractors. According to the local police, through the investigations, it shows that the contractors made removal of scaffoldings sooner than detailed engineering design requirements which broke the structure and led to the domino effect collapse. Some testimonies also indicated that, the subcontractors used bad quality scaffoldings, which had been utilized several times. 
- List of bridge failures
- Quebec Bridge, collapsed during construction on August 29, 1907, killing 76 workers
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- Photographs of the collapsed bridge