Two geologists were killed after a tunnel under construction in Mae Taeng collapsed; one man escaped and informed police and rescue workers. The tunnel is part of the Mae Ngat – Mae Kuang Water Transmission Project that will solve water shortage issues in Mae Kuang Dam.
The tunnel collapsed at 7:30 a.m. on March 2, 2017 when three Italian Thai Co. Ltd. geologists were inside inspecting the tunnel before start of work that day. Two men were killed instantly; 24 year old Pathompong Siriwat and 24 year old Pratyawat Wasuanan, both of Chiang Mai.
The tunnel normally had workers in there in two shifts, morning and evening. Prior to releasing the workers to enter the tunnel the geologists surveyed the strut system in the tunnel. There had been a lot of water in the tunnel and that softened the walls.
It took rescue workers about an hour to dig out the tunnel and retrieve the bodies. Governor Pawin Chamniprasart visited the scene of the disaster with other officials.
Construction on the tunnel is scheduled to finish in 2021 and has a 15 billion baht budget – it is designed to bring water to the Mae Kuang Dam to solve the water shortage problem as Mae Kuang supplies water for agriculture, homes and businesses and industry in Chiang Mai an Lamphun.