QUITO – A mudslide at the construction site of the Coca Codo Sinclair hydroelectric power plant, the largest facility of its kind in Ecuador, killed 13 people, officials said Sunday.
Three Chinese workers and 10 Ecuadorians died in the mudslide at Coca Codo Sinclair, located about 150 kilometers (93 miles) east of Quito.
The accident occurred around 8:30 p.m. on Saturday, Empresa Publica Coca Codo Sinclair said.
President Rafael Correa commented on the mudslide in a Twitter post.
“Serious accident last night at Coca Codo. 13 confirmed dead: 10 Ecuadorians and 3 Chinese. Our hearts go out to their families and co-workers,” the president said.
About a dozen other people were injured in the mudslide and transported to hospitals in the neighboring towns of Lago Agrio and Lumbaqui.
Emergency management office personnel, soldiers and police were deployed at the construction site, where initial reports said 15 people were trapped in the mud.
The accident presumably happened in a tunnel at the construction site.
The $2.2 billion Coca Codo Sinclair hydroelectric power plant, which is expected to start operating in February 2015, will have a generating capacity of 1,500 MW.
China’s Sinohydro consortium is building the power plant, which will supply enough electricity to meet 36 percent of Ecuador’s power needs.