|Firefighters carry out the restoration plan amid remnants of the collapsed building of a mountain resort in Gyeongju, North Gyeongsang Province, late Monday.|
At least 10 people were killed and more than 100 were injured after a resort building collapsed in Gyeongju, North Gyeongsang Province, Monday.
The ceiling of the prefab building, used as an auditorium, caved in at 9:15 p.m. apparently due to heavy snow, according to witnesses.
Some 1,100 freshmen of the Busan University of Foreign Studies were attending a welcome event organized by the student council at the Mauna Ocean Resort, the school said.
There were 565 students in the building when it caved in, the school said. Most got out soon after and around 100 were caught in the wreckage.
As of 7 a.m. Tuesday, nine students and one party organizer had died and about 100 others had been transferred to hospitals in the nearby city of Ulsan, according to local police officials.
Police also said three students and 11 party organizers remained unaccounted for.
Rescue workers had difficulty reaching the scene because heavy snow blocked the road leading to the resort, which is in a remote mountain area.
A student said a concert was underway inside the building and it took less than 10 seconds for the ceiling to fall down, he said.
“A lot of people rushed to the exit when the ceiling collapsed. Some were trampled. It was very chaotic,” he said.
He said he called the emergency services, and rescue workers arrived at the scene about 20-30 minutes after the collapse occurred.
Prime Minister Chung Hong-won instructed Security and Public Administration Minister Yoo Jeong-bok and National Emergency Management Agency Administrator Nam Sang-ho to make utmost efforts to save lives.
“With heavy snow presumably being the cause of the accident, there needs to be a thorough safety check on all kinds of facilities, a fact-finding probe and measures to prevent a relapse once rescue operations are over and the situation comes under control,” Chung said.
By Shin Hyon-hee (firstname.lastname@example.org)