S Korea to probe after roof collapse kills 10

2014-02-18 09:01
A general view shows the scene of a collapsed building at the Mauna Ocean Resort in Gyeongju, in South Korea's south eastern Gyeongsang Province. (Yonhap, AFP)

A general view shows the scene of a collapsed building at the Mauna Ocean Resort in Gyeongju, in South Korea's south eastern Gyeongsang Province. (Yonhap, AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

kalahari.com

  • South Korea
    Accessible yet packed with information, South Korea will appeal to geography students and casual... Now R567.00
    buy now
Seoul - South Korean President Park Geun-Hye on Tuesday called for a full investigation into the collapse of a student-packed auditorium near the southern city of Gyeongju that killed at least 10 people and injured more than 100.

More than 560 college students participating in a freshman orientation were believed to have been attending a concert in the building when the roof caved in on Monday - apparently under the weight of heavy snow - at around 21:15 (1215 GMT).

The auditorium was part of a mountain resort complex near Gyeongju that had experienced unusually heavy snowfall in the preceding week.

"It is heart-rending that so many lives were sacrificed... a thorough investigation must be carried out," Park told a cabinet meeting.

The tragedy occurred as the country was still reeling from news of the bombing of a bus laden with South Korean tourists in Egypt near the Israeli border.

Police said a suicide bomber was probably behind the attack on Sunday that killed three South Koreans and their Egyptian driver.

Outrage

The resort auditorium was a pre-engineered building, assembled with rigid frames and side walls - of a type normally used for storage houses and aviation hangars.

Fire officials said the accumulated weight of the snow piled on the roof of the building appeared to have caused the structure to buckle, raising questions about its soundness.

The Ministry of Security and Public Administration said 10 people, including nine students, were confirmed dead, with two more seriously injured and 101 others who suffered "bruises and cuts".

Some parents of the victims voiced outrage, saying the organisers of the orientation event had failed to ensure the students' safety.

"What on earth were they doing? They didn't even bother to take a look at the site before pushing through with the event despite such heavy snowfalls," a woman whose 18-year-old daughter was among the dead, told Yonhap news agency.

More than 1 400 rescuers and workers, backed by heavy equipment, had worked throughout the night under arc lights to clear the debris and snowfall to reach the victims.

Shouting and screaming

"The ceiling came crashing down at the front near the stage," one student told the YTN news channel.

"Then pandemonium broke out and everyone started rushing towards the exits, shouting and screaming," he added.

Another witness, Kim Ga-Hyun, aged 20, said the structure continued to cave in as the panicked students tried to escape.

"Steel frames collapsed around those who were squeezing through the exit. We had to tear down window panes to get out," she said.

The ground around the building was covered with a thick blanket of snow, which continued to fall throughout the night, hampering the rescue efforts.

The auditorium was part of the Mauna Ocean Resort, which had been hosting the freshman orientation for close to 1 000 students from a foreign language college in the southern city of Busan.

Fire officials said they had difficulty reaching the resort which had recorded more than 50cm of snowfall in the last week.

The resort owner, Kolon business group, issued a public apology over the disaster, promising full compensation and support for the victims.

A police official said the probe into the disaster would begin immediately.

"We will conduct a full investigation to determine the cause of the incident and punish all those who might be responsible for this tragedy," Choi Mun-Tae, chief detective at Gyeongju Police Station, told reporters.

The investigation is likely to focus on whether snow had been cleared from the roof of the auditorium and whether the building was an authorised structure that met safety standards.

The city of Gyeongju is a popular tourism spot for both Korean and international travellers. Once the capital of the Silla kingdom, it boasts numerous historical sites and is located at the southern fringe of the Taebaek mountains.

The Mauna Ocean Resort is a sprawling holiday complex nestled on a mountainside complete with holiday villas and a golf course.

Read more on:    south korea
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/News
Traffic & Train Alerts
Traffic
Cape Town 08:51 AM
Road name: N2 Inbound

STATIONARY VEHICLE in the left lane at the Mowbray Main Road exit - DELAYS from Bhunga Avenue

Rondebosch 08:51 AM
Road name: M5 Northbound

DELAYS between Race Course Road and the N2 Highway Interchange

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Up to 60% off - clearance sale!

Save up to 60% on appliances, books, electronics, toys, movies and more. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Deal of the Week!

Get bestselling John Green novels now just R99 each! Hurry and get yours while stocks last. Shop here.

Mind blowing deals on beauty & fragrances

Save up to 30% off beauty and fragrances. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 50% off hair care products!

Save up to 50% on professional hair care products at kalahari.com. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

30% off academic books

Score a mind blowing 30% off academic books! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

Social media is pulling you in and you have the desire to find out everything you know about your friends and you have the urge to...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.