Vietnam rescues 12 trapped by tunnel collapse

Workers and rescuers stand in front of the entrance of a tunnel at the Da Dang- Da Chomo hydroelectric power plant in Lac Duong district, central highland province of Lam Dong on Dec 16, 2014. Twelve people trapped in a collapsed tunnel were fre
Workers and rescuers stand in front of the entrance of a tunnel at the Da Dang- Da Chomo hydroelectric power plant in Lac Duong district, central highland province of Lam Dong on Dec 16, 2014. Twelve people trapped in a collapsed tunnel were freed Friday after a four-day ordeal which saw rescuers pass oxygen and food through a small hole while they pulled away debris, state media reported. -- PHOTO: AFP

HANOI (AFP) - Twelve people trapped in a collapsed tunnel were freed Friday after a four-day ordeal which saw rescuers pass oxygen and food through a small hole while they pulled away debris, state media reported.

The 11 men and one woman were in good health after being led from the tunnel, according to state-run Vietnam Television.

Part of the tunnel of Da Dang-Da Chomo hydroelectric power plant collapsed in Lac Duong district in the Central Highlands early Tuesday after heavy rain in the area.

The painstaking rescue effort was slowed by more than 14 metres of rock and debris blocking the rescuers from the victims.

According to VNExpress, rescuers eventually found a gap in the debris around which they used to pull the workers free.

Hoang Si Son, deputy party chief of Lam Dong province told AFP earlier that nearly 1,000 people had been mobilised in the rescue efforts.

Vietnam draws more than one-third of its electricity from hydropower.

Fatal collapses and rockslides are reasonably common at illegal stone quarries and mines in Vietnam due to lax regulations and safety standards.

But there have been few fatal incidents at the country's many hydroelectric power plants.