Wednesday 11 June 2014

Three workers killed by landslide at Phuket landslide.

Three workers were killed by a landslide at a construction site on the Thai island of Phuket at about 4.30 pm local time on Tuesday 10 June 2014. The workers are said to be female Myanmar nationals described as being either aged 15, 16 & 19 or 18, 19 & 25 (depending on the source) and named by some local press reports as Nu, Mo & May, were reportedly excavating land on a hillside at the Crystal Wild Resort for the construction of a hotel at Muang on the south of the island, when a retaining wall intended to hold back soil collapsed onto them.

The site of the 10 June 2014 Phuket landslide. Kritsada Mueanhawong/Phuket Gazette.

The incident is reported to have been caused by sodden soil moving after a period of heavy rain. andslides are a common problem after severe weather events, as excess pore water pressure can overcome cohesion in soil and sediments, allowing them to flow like liquids. Approximately 90% of all landslides are caused by heavy rainfall. Phuket has a tropical climate with a monsoon season lasting from mid-April till October, and typically receives around 210 mm of rain in June. 

Some local sources have suggested that the poor design of the retaining wall may have contributed to the accident, observing that it did not seem designed for the intended purpose, and that while it was apparently able to support the weight of the soil while the this was dry, it was unable to do so once it became waterlogged.

The approximate location of the 10 June 2014 Phuket landslide. Google Maps.

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