One person was killed and three were injured in a building collapse Thursday afternoon in Seoul’s southern district of Seocho. Of the four known casualties, three were rescued and one was pronounced dead by the emergency medical team on the scene.
Rescue work is underway at the scene of a building collapse in Seocho-gu, Seoul. (Kim Arin/The Korea Herald)
According to fire authorities, the five-story building with a single underground floor collapsed at around 2:20 p.m. Thursday. The building, located on a four-lane street, fell on to three cars, two of which had two passengers each.
While two women in a Hyundai SUV were rescued and moved to a nearby hospital within half an hour of the collapse, the other two passengers in a Hyundai sedan remained trapped inside for over three hours until one of them -- a 31-year-old man in the passenger seat -- was rescued in an unconscious state at 5:59 p.m. The woman, 29, in the driver’s seat was extracted at around 6:33 p.m., but was pronounced dead by a doctor from the Seocho public health office two minutes later.
In a press briefing held at around 7:40 p.m. by the district’s fire station, the fire administration division chief Park Chul-woo said the cause of the collapse had not yet been determined. “There are a lot of variables and factors that may have led to the collapse,” Park said.
The building was in the process of being demolished before it collapsed, according to the fire station. Demolition work had begun Saturday. Four construction workers who were in the building’s basement were evacuated in about an hour.
A rescue team comprising 232 firefighters from the city’s 98 fire stations, 120 police officers, four Kepco officials and 10 from the Seocho district office was deployed to the scene after authorities were alerted to the case at 2:23 p.m.
In a review of surveillance cameras on the streets, no passersby were spotted at the time of collapse, fire authorities said. The rescue efforts will continue, however, until it is confirmed that there are no other possible casualties.
Rescue work underway at the scene of a building collapse in Seocho-gu, Seoul (Kim Arin/The Korea Herald)
Seocho-gu fire station holds on-site press briefing (Kim Arin/The Korea Herald)