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Missile Truck Explodes in Tunnel

Posted November. 02, 2005 05:07,   


A fire on a Korea Express 15-ton truck loaded with Nike missile propellants led to a series of explosions that destroyed both the truck and the propellant yesterday.

The explosions occurred inside Dalseong Tunnel No. 2 (one-way, two-lanes), located on the Guma Expressway (Nongong, Dalseong County, Daegu), on the Daegu-bound side.

The accident led to an emergency evacuation of the 100 or so drivers passing through both sides of the tunnel, but there were no casualties.

It was confirmed that the truck loaded with missile warheads had left the tunnel just before the fire broke out, implying that the situation could have been much worse.

The driver of the truck, Park (31), recalled the situation, saying, “After entering the tunnel, a fire broke out after a loud explosion from the right rear tire, so I parked the truck and evacuated with the other drivers.”

Chung Woo-hong, a Highway Patrol sergeant, said, “Arriving at the scene, I heard six or seven explosions from the truck inside the tunnel. All of the drivers inside the tunnel fled, leaving their cars inside.”

The fire was brought under control at 3:25 p.m. after 33 fire trucks and around 140 firefighters were called to the scene. At the time of the fire, of the four trucks loaded with missile warheads, two had already left the tunnel, and the first of the remaining two trucks had caught fire.

The police, not wanting to risk further damage caused by additional explosions, cut off all access to the area. The expressway’s southbound lanes will be closed until November 2.

The police believe that a spark caused by the flat tire helped spread the fire to the loaded truck, and are continuing their investigation into the causes of the fire.

Yong-Kyun Jeong cavatina@donga.com