VIENTIANE – A Japanese engineer was killed and two others went missing when a construction crane on a bridge being built over the Mekong River collapsed Friday, Thailand’s Mukdahan provincial police and a Japanese construction company said.
Two other Japanese workers were injured, one of them seriously, the police said.
Hitoshi Tanaka, 48, was crushed at the construction site after the crane fell onto one of the foundation pillars of the bridge where Tanaka and many other workers were standing, said Lt. Col. Phairot Chanthim of Mukdahan’s Mueang District Police Station.
Tanaka and his colleagues were building the second friendship bridge between Thailand and Laos over the river. The accident occurred on the border shortly after 4 p.m. local time.
More than 10 Thai and Laotian workers were also injured or went missing, the police said.
Authorities launched a search for those who fell into the river after the crane collapsed, according to Phairot.
Tanaka and the four other Japanese workers are employees of Sumitomo Mitsui Construction Co. On Saturday, the company said one of its executives and family members of the five workers would travel to the accident site.
The names of the four other workers were been released.
The cause of the accident was not immediately known, but Phairot said he heard that some of the slings of the crane were broken.
The crane did not fall into the river, he said.
The 1.6-km-long Second Thai-Lao Friendship Bridge is due to open next year. It will link the western Laotian Province of Savannakhet and the northeastern Thai province of Mukdahan.
The Japanese government is partially funding the construction.
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