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Ten dead, more than 100 injured after building collapses in Gyeongju

Updated: 2014-02-18 12:12:06 (KST)
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We start with the horrifying building collapse in Korea's southeastern city of Gyeongju that has claimed so many young lives.
Ten people have been confirmed dead and more than 1-hundred were injured, two seriously.
For more on the current situation we are going to connect live with our Shin Se-min who is on the phone at our news center.
Se-min, what is the latest information we are getting?

Hi, Conn-young.
The events of last night's tragic accident are finally taking shape this Tuesday, and this is what we know now.
More than 5-hundred first-year students from Busan University of Foreign Studies were having their orientation in an auditorium at the Mauna Ocean Resort in Gyeongju, when it collapsed at around 9 p.m., Monday night, Korea time.
As of now, 10 people have been confirmed dead and over 1-hundred have minor injuries while two are in critical condition.
Hundreds of fire and police officials remain at the scene, but fortunately people who had been reported missing in the hours after the accident have since been accounted for.
The resort's location -- high up a mountain -- made it that much more difficult for emergency services to get to, and the recent heavy snow and ice made things even worse with witnesses saying it took nearly half-an-hour for emergency services to arrive.
So far, several people are receiving medical treatment at hospitals in the nearby city of Ulsan.

Students that managed to escape say there was an indication the building was under strain in the moments before it collapsed. What are we hearing about that?

That's right.
Of the some 5-hundred students and organizers that were in and around the auditorium, scores managed to rush to the exits as a loud cracking sound was heard around 10 seconds before the roof caved in.
Most of the injured and those killed were the ones unable to evacuate the building before everything came tumbling down.
An eyewitness said the ceiling came down at the front, forcing students to rush towards a back exit.


"The ceiling came down at the front near the stage so I ran out. Within 10 seconds, the ceiling fell right on top of us hitting me on the head."

It must have been absolutely terrifying I'm sure that those that managed to get out are still in a state of shock. It seems the most likely explanation for the collapse appears to be the heavy snow that has fallen in that area over the last few days.

Yes, there is growing speculation that heavy snow on the roof could have caused the collapse, following recent massive snowfalls across that part of Korea, but officials say they are still trying to figure out what exactly caused the roof to suddenly fall in on itself.
Also it has been said that the structure of the auditorium was frail, as it was a temporary building.
Local police say they will launch a full investigation once rescue efforts have finished.
Prime Minister Chung Hong-won has launched an official inquiry into the accident, while the Ministry of Security and Public Administration is due to submit a report to parliament regarding the matter.
President Park Geun-hye also sent her condolencses to the victim's families ordering officials to thoroughly investigate the case.

Thank-you, Se-min.
Do keep us updated throughout the day.
That was our Shin Se-min with the latest on the building collapse in Gyeongju where 10 people mostly university students were so tragically killed last night.


Reporter : ashin@arirang.co.kr

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