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Ten dead, more than 100 injured in Gyeongju building collapse

Updated: 2014-02-18 14:51:25 (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.
For more on the current situation, we now connect live with our Eoh Jin-joo, who is on the phone at our news center.
Jin-joo, fill us in on the latest.

Conn-young.
It only took about 10 seconds for the auditorium of a resort hotel in the city of Gyeongju, Gyeongsangnam-do province, to collapse on Monday night.
Some 560 students from the Busan University of Foreign Studies were in the middle of a welcome event for members of the freshman class, when the ceiling started to crumble above a stage set up in the front.
As you mentioned, 10 people have been confirmed dead and dozens injured.
One or two people are in critical condition and around 120 have suffered minor injuries.
Let's hear one of the students who survived the incident describe it in her own words.


"Everyone was sitting comfortably on the ground. But then everyone was heading to the exits all at once and it was total chaos."


Do they know what caused the incident?

There is a great deal of speculation about the cause of the collapse, but it seems that there are a number of factors at play.
What we do know is that the area had gotten a record level of snow over the past week, and the snow piled up on the ceiling was estimated to weigh nearly 150 tons.
Now, in addition to that, some say that the auditorium wasn't up to code and that the construction was shoddy, so it seems that there needs to be a deeper investigation into that.
The ceiling and outer walls of the auditorium were made of sandwich panels, which are usually used to build temporary structures or storage spaces.
Sandwich panels are made out of thin steel plates with Styrofoam in between, and are known to absorb moisture easily.
Plus, the building was huge -- at 900 square meters - but it had no pillars to support the roof.
So, many think that was why the auditorium could not withstand the weight of the snow.

President Park Geun-hye has ordered a thorough investigation into the case as well.

Yes, that's right.
President Park, during a Cabinet meeting this morning, expressed her grief and regret over the tragic incident, and offered her condolences to the families of the victims.
She asked the government to do its best to support those who were injured and help the families pay for funerals for the deceased.
And as you said, she also called for a thorough investigation into the cause of the accident and fundamental measures to prevent such incidents from happening again.
She ordered government officials to conduct safety checks on multi-purpose facilities in the east coast region, which was hit by record snowfall over the past week or so.

Thank-you, Jin-joo.
We'll check back with you throughout the evening for more on this story.
That was our Eoh Jin-joo with the latest on the building collapse in Gyeongju, where 10 people, mostly university students, were so tragically killed last night.


Reporter : jjeoh@arirang.co.kr

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