Trains Crash In South Korean Capital; 200 People Hurt
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[May 02, 2014]
By Christine Kim and Sohee Kim
SEOUL (Reuters) — South Korea suffered its
second serious transport accident in just over two weeks on Friday when
a subway train in the capital, Seoul, crashed into a train at a station,
injuring 200 people although no one was killed.
The country is still mourning the victims of a ferry accident on
April 16, when 300 people were killed or are missing in the
submerged hull of a capsized ship in the country's worst disaster in
Most of those hurt in the mid-afternoon accident on Friday appeared
to have suffered minor abrasions, according to emergency officials
at Sangwangsimni station in the east of the capital, although one
person was being treated for a brain hemorrhage and one for a
"An incoming train crashed into one that was stopped at the
station," fire department official Kim Kyung-su told a news
About 1,000 people were evacuated, Kim said.
Seoul Metro official Chung Soo-young said the accident was caused by
a signal failure and that two subway cars were derailed.
"I fell forwards maybe two or three meters," said Lee Dong-hyeon,
26, an office worker on the train that crashed into the one stopped
at the station.
"It was like tripping over when running really fast."
About 4.5 million passengers use Seoul's modern metro system every
The last major accident on a South Korean subway system was in 2003
when 192 were killed in a subway fire in the city of Daegu, which
prompted major safety improvements.
Last month's ferry accident off the southwest coast led to the
resignation of the prime minister and President Park Geun-hye's
approval rating has dropped sharply due to the slow response of
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More than 300 schoolchildren were on the ferry and many were ordered
to stay on board as it sank by crew members who then got off the
On Friday, an announcement on the train telling passengers to remain
where they were was widely ignored. Many passengers forced open the
train doors and jumped down onto the track to get away, witnesses
Seoul Mayor Park Won-soon was at the scene of the crash. The metro
is operated by the city of Seoul.
A Gallup Korea poll issued before the train accident on Friday
showed President Park's rating had plunged by 11 percentage points
in the past two weeks to 48 percent.
(Reporting by Kahyun Yang, Cho Meeyoung, Ju-min Park, Jack Kim, Se
Young Lee and Minu Bak; editing by David Chance and Robert Birsel)
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