Nine dead after bus crushed in South Korea building collapse

Fire officials say eight people were seriously injured in the collapse, which happened in the city of Gwangju.

Gwangju building collapse
South Korean rescue workers search for possible survivors from the debris of a collapsed building in Gwangju on Thursday [Yonhap via AFP]

At least nine people were killed and eight seriously injured in South Korea when a five-storey building – which was in the process of being demolished – collapsed suddenly onto a bus, officials at a local fire station said.

The accident happened on Wednesday afternoon when the bus was stopped on the street next to the demolition site in Gwangju, some 270km (168 miles) southwest of the capital, Seoul, officials at the Gwangju Fire and Safety Headquarters said.

Dramatic television footage showed the bus, which had 17 people on board, being buried in debris and smothered by a huge cloud of dust as the structure gave way.

Yang Ik-je, who runs a shop across the road from the construction site, said he ran outside, jolted by the loud noise that made him feel as if “the earth was shaking”.

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

The reason for the collapse was unclear, and a police investigation is under way, officials said.

The bus was stopped on the street next to the building when it suddenly collapsed. Nine of those on board have been confirmed dead with the remaining eight seriously injured [Yonhap via AFP]

All the workers on the demolition site had been evacuated before the collapse.

South Korea has been taking steps to improve its infrastructure safety record following a number of disasters.

A department store collapse killed more than 500 people in 1995, the country’s worst peacetime disaster. A bridge collapse the year before killed 49 people.


Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies