Muscat: Six foreign workers were buried alive after heavy rain flooded the construction site they were working on.
The six were working on a section of a pipe that was 14 metres below the ground at a piping project in Seeb, when they were trapped under mud and water.
Rescue officials rushed to save them, but despite their best efforts, could only recover their bodies, which were found in the nearly 300-metre long section of concrete pipe they were working on.
Officials at the Public Authority for Civil Defence and Ambulance (PACDA) revealed that although rescue teams had attempted to rescue the six, the workers were unfortunately found dead.
“Despite the heavy rainfall, the workers were carrying out the work at the site,” said a PACDA official, speaking to the Times of Oman.
“They were positioned inside the tunnel, but suddenly, the rainwater came in, and they could not make it outside. This, unfortunately, led to their death.
“They were working on a water pipeline project, which is being implemented by a tunnelling company.”
The official said that the bodies were found surrounded by rainwater and mud.
“The rescue team used large-volume pumps to pump out water from the 295-metre long concrete pipe, 14 metres below the surface.
“After painstaking efforts for about 12 hours, they were pulled from the inside of the pipe but were found dead.”
The Majlis Al Shura member for Seeb, Hilal Al Sarmi, said, “They were at the excavation site on Sunday night to connect these huge pipes that were designed to transport water through underground channels that are about 14 feet below ground. Because the workers were working in heavy rain, the arrival of the water was sudden, and they collapsed under the huge amounts of rainfall and mud that came on top of them,” he said.
“The workers were inside this section of the pipeline because they needed to conduct repairs, but because of the heavy rain, it flooded the pipe with rainwater and fast-flowing mud,” he added. “The workers became stuck and were unable to get out.”
In the wake of the death of the six workers, the Public Authority for Civil Defence and Ambulance asked companies involved in pipe-laying and water supply projects to abide by the safety rules and regulations, so as to not endanger those who work on such projects.
The General Federation of Oman Workers (GFOW) said they would closely follow the investigations into the deaths of these six workers, with an official from the organisation saying, “The General Federation of Oman Workers expresses its deep sorrow and regret for what happened, calling upon all relevant authorities to clarify the circumstances of the incident and take the necessary legal procedures in this regard.”
To ascertain the nationalities of the six deceased workers, consular officials from the Embassy of India have gotten in touch with the Royal Oman Police, as well as the doctors conducting post-mortem procedures.