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[Ferry Disaster] Major disasters in Korea

A Coast Guard boat floats near the sunken ferry on Friday.
A Coast Guard boat floats near the sunken ferry on Friday.

The ferry tragedy has touched off a wave of shock and disappointment among the Korean public as it is not the first such large-scale accident. Several tragedies have occurred in a few decades, mostly by human error or negligence, claiming thousands of innocent lives.

Feb. 17, 2014 -- A gymnasium roof at a resort collapses in Gyeongju, North Gyeongsang Province, killing 10 and injuring 128 others. More than 500 incoming college freshmen of Busan University of Foreign Studies were having a welcoming party. Shoddy construction and poor materials were found to be the cause of the tragedy.

Feb. 18, 2003 -- A man pessimistic about life sets fire in a subway train in Daegu, killing 192 and wounding 151. It was later found that the man attempted to kill himself in the train along with innocent passengers after he was diagnosed with intellectual disabilities.

June 29, 1995 -- A department store in central Seoul suddenly collapses, taking 502 lives and injuring 937. One survivor was miraculously found 17 days after the accident.

April 28, 1995 -- City gas explodes at a subway construction site in Daegu, claiming 101 lives and hurting 202. The majority of victims were found to be teenagers who were heading to school near the scene in the morning.

Oct. 21, 1994 -- Seongsudaegyo Bridge in Seoul collapses due to fraudulent construction, killing 32 and wounding 17. Many of the dead and wounded were female high schoolers rushing to school.

Oct. 10, 1993 -- Passenger liner Seohae Ferry sinks off the southwestern coast of North Jeolla Province, claiming 292. Despite the meteorological agency’s warning over the bad weather, the ferry departed for the journey with 362 passengers, exceeding the capacity by more than 100 passengers. The first mate did not board, leaving two safety guards in charge of the safety of hundreds of passengers.

Dec. 25, 1971 -- LP gas explodes at a 22-story hotel in Seoul, killing 163 and injuring 63.

Dec. 15, 1970 -- Passenger liner Namyoung ferry, en route from Jejudo Island to Busan, sinks off the waters near southern port city of Yeosu due to overloaded freight, claiming 326.

By By Lee Hyun-jeong (
Korea Herald daum