Sunday, June 20, 2021

Nine killed as falling building crushes bus in South Korea

The building was being demolished and most people had been evacuated from the area.

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At least nine people were killed when a five-storey building being demolished in South Korea collapsed on to a bus, officials have said.

As well as those killed, at least eight people were injured in the collapse in the southern city of Gwangju.

Videos uploaded to social media showed that the building collapsed directly on to the bus, which was carrying 17 people and had stopped on a street below, the National Fire Agency said.

Emergency officers dispatched to the site rescued several passengers from the bus, all seriously injured, before discovering the nine bodies, the agency said in a statement.

The reason for the collapse is not yet clear and search efforts are still under way for survivors who may be trapped.

All workers on the site had evacuated before the building collapsed, fire officer Kim Seok-sun said in a televised briefing.

Yang Ik-je, who runs a shop across the street from the collapsed building, told Yonhap news agency it felt like “the earth was shaking”.

“I could not see the road clearly, as if it were shrouded in thick fog,” he said. “I checked the CCTV to find out that the building collapsed on to a bus.”

Local media showed the debris falling on the bus and engulfing the street in a huge cloud of dust.

A video after the collapse showed dozens of rescue workers equipped with stretchers and crowbars searching for survivors while excavators hacked at a huge mountain of crumbled concrete and bent steel beams spilling over the motorway, the AP reported.

One of the world’s worst peacetime building collapses happened in South Korea in June 1995, when Seoul’s Sampoong Department Store collapsed, killing more than 500 people.

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