National Yang Ming University Hospital, Yilan City, Taiwan. Photo: Google Maps

A 37-year-old Vietnamese worker was buried alive on Monday morning when rubble fell on him in a collapsing sewage trench in Yilan City, in northeastern Taiwan.

Two workers – a Taiwanese worker surnamed Chen and a temporary Vietnamese worker named Luu Anh Quy – were with a contractor surnamed Lin, at Lane 245 of Section 1 of the city’s Zhongshan Road, when the accident occurred, China Daily News reported Tuesday.

At 10:30am, while Chen was operating the excavator, Lin and Luu were in the trench looking for sewage pipelines. The walls of the trench suddenly collapsed inwards, causing Lin and Luu to sink down into it.

The contractor managed to pull himself out as only his lower legs were jammed, but Luu’s hand slipped away from his after the worker quickly sank under the rubble.

According to Taiwan’s Apple Daily, at 11:55am – almost an hour and a half after the collapse – rescuers from the Yilan County Fire Bureau recovered the Vietnamese national. He was immediately sent to National Yang Ming University Hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 12:30pm.

The deceased man was later confirmed as a migrant worker whose work visa had been expired for 123 days. The contractor told the police he had not been aware of this fact.