Late on October 15, the 13 bodies of the search and rescue officials, missing due to the landslide on October 12 in the area of Rao Trang 3 Hydropower Plant in Xuan Phong commune, Phong Dien district of Thua Thien - Hue province, were found.

Waiting for the news

Hours before that, Chief of the General Staff and Deputy Defense Minister Senior Lieutenant General Phan Van Giang directed the Engineer Corps, Military Region 4 and relevant forces to coordinate closely with the Ministry of Transport and the People’s Committee of Thua Thien - Hue province to mobilize a maximum number of vehicles, equipment and forces, and strive to find all the victims of the landslide. He also requested that the SAR forces pay special attention to ensuring safety for personnel and equipment during SAR missions.

At the site of the landslide, the weather suddenly turned bad. It rained harder. In the rumble of the machines, Senior Lieutenant Colonel Dinh Van Nguyen, head of the Martyr Remain Search and Repatriation Team 192, said in tears, “It’s a gripping pain to us. They are our commanders, our comrades, just sitting next to us not long ago. Now I have to dig deep down into the earth to search for them…”

Under the leadership of Deputy Chief of the General Staff Lieutenant General Nguyen Trong Binh, the SAR forces boosted search efforts in the area where the landslide occurred and raced against time to search for the victims.

At 10 a.m., in a 7.5 ha area full of mud and loose earth, the forces found traces of the house where the missing officials stayed for the night. However, the bigger the hole was dug, the fewer traces of the missing were found. The mixed odor of earth, burned diesel, and the sweat of hundreds of rescuers made it hard for the K9 squad to search for the missing.

At the site of landslide

At 10.28 a.m., at a depth of 2 meters, blood was found in the soil. The forces were directed to dig deeper in that area. The dug hole was immediately filled with loose earth and mud, every rescuer put forth their best effort to find their missing comrades. At 11 a.m., the rescuers were petrified with sorrow to see the first body.

The weather turned worse in the afternoon as rains kept pouring down on the site. Despite the rain and the cold the SAR forces refused to give up. Another body was found. Then, one more… The bodies were still in their uniforms. By 7.20 p.m., all 13 bodies of the missing comrades were found.

Just a few days ago, these 13 comrades crossed treacherous terrains to find a way to rescue workers stranded by the landslide in Rao Trang 3 Hydropower Plant. Now, they are lying here in peace, returning to their families in unsung glory.

Rising above all the sorrows, they have returned to the gentle open arms of the Motherland! May they rest forever in peace!

Translated by Huu Duong