한편, 이날 부산외대 측은 홈페이지에 “저희 대학은 신입생 예비대학에 참석했다가 참사를 당한 학생들에 대해서는 향후 대학이 할 수 있는 모든 행정력을 동원해 책임을 지도록 하겠다”며 사과문을 올렸다.
붕괴사고 현장에 인명 구조와 수색은 사고발생 18시간만인 18일 오후 3시에 끝났으며, 인명 피해는 사망 10명(여성 7명, 남성 3명)과 부상 105명(중상 2명, 경상 103명)인 것으로 집계됐다.
가벼운 상처를 입은 피해자 상당수는 경주, 울산 등 병원에서 치료를 받은 뒤 퇴원을 하거나 연고가 있는 부산 등지의 병원으로 간 것으로 알려졌다.
구조•수색 작업이 끝나 붕괴 원인에 대한 수사도 본격화됐다.
국립과학수사연구원은 본원과 대구 및 부산본원 소속 인력 13명으로 현장 감식을 위한 태스크포스를 구성해 18일 오후 3시부터 감식에 들어갔다.
국과원은 안전도 진단이 끝나면 무너져 내린 강당을 안전하게 시공했는지, 하중 설계를 적정하게 했는지 등을 점검할 계획이다.
경찰도 국과원 감식이 끝나는대로 사고가 난 강당에 대해 시공에서 관리까지 전반적인 부분에 걸쳐 위법이 있었는지를 본격 수사할 계획이다. (연합)
<관련 영문 기사>Building collapse in Gyeongju sparks controversy over its cause
Public uproar is mounting over the university‘s alleged late response and irresponsibility after the unexpected building collapse that left 10 people dead and about 100 injured on Monday in Gyeongju, North Gyeongsang Province.
Ten people were confirmed dead with 105 people injured after the ceiling of the resort gymnasium, which was being used as an auditorium, caved in at 9:15 p.m. at the Mauna Ocean Resort in Gyeongju.
Heavy snow is thought to be the main cause behind the accident, but Koreans are pointing the finger at the university.
Some 1,000 students attended a freshman welcome event organized by the student council at the Busan University of Foreign Studies.
A father of a deceased student, only identified by his surname Kim, burst out crying and vented outrage about the late response of the university. “They say my daughter died. Why didn’t the university contact me?”
Kim heard about the accident while watching TV that night, but never thought that his beloved child would be one of the dead.
He thought his daughter was too “excited” to reply to his text message asking how she was doing. “I didn‘t even see my daughter’s face when I went work early that day,” he said in tears.
Another parent who lost her 18-year-old middle child cried out, “I received a call from the university at around 2 a.m. on Tuesday, six hours after the accident.”
“I heard the news from a friend. What did the university do at the time?” she added.
She also posed a question over the responsibility and sense of safety of the university. The university reportedly did not even visit the site in advance despite the news reports of heavy snowfalls and sent only three staff to oversee more than 1,000 students.
However, the university is pinning blame on the students who “pushed for” the event that the university had banned.
An official at the university said, “The student council went ahead with the event by collecting fees from the students participating in the welcome party.”
“Without a big enough budget, it seems like the students looked for a cheap accommodation such as pre-engineered building, leading to the accident.”
Meanwhile, Chung Hae-lin, the president of the university, issued an apology on its website. “I express my condolences to the students who passed away in this catastrophe and wish for a rapid recovery for those injured.” The school made clear that it will assume all responsibilities for the affected students.
As of 3:00 p.m. Tuesday, the search ended and the injured had been transferred to hospitals in the nearby city of Ulsan, according to local police officials.
Amid growing speculation that the collapsed building was authorized despite its failure to meet safety standards, the government pledged to launch a fact-finding probe and to carry out a thorough safety check on all kinds of facilities to find out the exact cause for the collapse.
By Ock Hyun-ju, Intern reporter (firstname.lastname@example.org