Hundreds evacuate shaking high-rise mall in South Korea

2011-07-05 08:57

Seoul – Hundreds of people fled a high-rise shopping mall in the South Korean capital today as it began shaking for unknown reasons, according to a local government spokesman.

The Gwangjin district government later ordered the 39-storey TechnoMart mall in eastern Seoul to be closed off for at least three days, the spokesman said.

Hundreds of panicky people fled the building as it shook for about 10 minutes in the morning, witnesses said.

“The building was rocking up and down and I felt so dizzy that I almost vomited,” Lee Ji-Soo, a woman who works on the 20th floor, told the Chosun Ilbo newspaper website.

Firefighters with six fire engines were sent to the scene and dozens of police cordoned off the building, as office workers and customers piled out.

The Gwangjin spokesman said the cause of the swaying was not known and a safety inspection would immediately be carried out.

The mall accommodates hundreds of small shops selling electronics, houseware and books, as well as a multiplex cinema and a number of offices.

Sampoong Department Store in Seoul collapsed in 1995, killing more than 500 people. It was the largest peacetime disaster in South Korea.

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