Sunday 11 December 2016

Four killed and three in critical condition following tube network explosion

Published 01/06/2016 | 07:45

Rescue workers search for survivors after an explosion at a subway construction site in Namyangju, South Korea (Lim Byung-shick/Yonhap via AP) KOREA OUT
Rescue workers search for survivors after an explosion at a subway construction site in Namyangju, South Korea (Lim Byung-shick/Yonhap via AP) KOREA OUT

Four people have died and 10 others were injured after an explosion at a tube network building site near South Korea's capital Seoul.

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The workers in Namyangju were welding iron bars 49 feet underground when the explosion occurred on Wednesday morning, Gyeonggi Province Fire and Disaster Headquarters said.

One was found dead above ground, his body possibly blown upwards by the force of the explosion, while three others were found dead underground. Three of the injured were seriously hurt.

The cause of the explosion was not immediately known but an official from the Namyangju fire brigade said a gas tank used for the welding operations might have exploded.

The accident is the latest addition into a long list of deadly safety accidents in South Korea, where, despite a period of soul-searching after a 2014 ferry disaster that killed more than 300 people, safety issues continue to be overlooked.

There was public outrage about the death of a 19-year-old tube worker who was hit by a underground train on Saturday while carrying out maintenance work on screen doors on a station platform in Seoul.

Critics have questioned the workplace policies at Seoul Metro, the tube operator, asking why the man was working alone when safety regulations required at least two for such jobs.

Analysts say many safety problems in the country stem from little regulation and wide ignorance about safety in general - and a tendency to value economic advancement over all else.

Press Association

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