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Dam worker beats odds to survive

Dam worker beats odds to survive

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Touch Daro, a 23-year-old construction worker, recovers yesterday at Calmette Hospital in Phnom Penh after suffering an injury while working at the Kamchay hydropower dam site in Kampot province.

A MAN who was skewered by an industrial drill bit that pierced through his back and exited out of his bottom has been saved by a remarkable surgical effort from doctors at Calmette hospital, following the latest accidents at a hydropower dam site. 

Touch Khorn, 58, said yesterday she was certain her 23-year-old son, Touch Daro, would die after he was rushed to hospital on Tuesday. A drill bit, around three-metres long, had fallen from a post and skewered him at the Kamchay dam construction site in Kampot.

“I was frightened when I saw my son at first, stuck with the big iron fibre going through his back and out of his bottom – I had no hope that the doctor could rescue him,” she said.

Phnom Penh doctors, she said, told her that her son had survived against odds of about one in a thousand because the drill had somehow missed all vital organs and bones, damaging only his large intestine and urinal tract. Surgeons at Calmette yesterday declined to explain how they had removed the drill bit and Sae Chean Chim, the director of the Sinohydro, Kamchay Hydroelectric Company which is constructing the dam, also declined to comment because he was busy.

Thun Saray, president of rights group Adhoc, said yesterday he was surprised by the responsibility shown by Sinohydro Kamchay Hydroelectric Company in rushing the victim to hospital and paying for his medical expenses.

“I’m was happy when I saw the company took care of the victim by taking him to hospital and paid for the hospital treatment of the victim. This is the humanitarian action that the company has taken for the victim,” he said.

“If the incident was not caused by the carelessness of the company but was accidental, my organisation can not make accusations against them. But I suspect the accident was caused because the company was careless.”

The accident is the latest of a series at Cambodia’s hydropower developments. Three workers were killed in two incidents in the past two weeks at the site of the Russei Chrum Kraom hydropower dam, which is being built by China Huadian Hong Kong Limited.

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