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Construction Mishap in Seoul Suburb Kills 3 Workers

Posted February. 16, 2009 04:02,   


A construction accident killed three workers and injured eight others yesterday in Pangyo new town in the southern Seoul suburb of Seongnam, Gyeonggi Province.

The accident took place at 8:25 a.m. at a construction site for SK Chemicals’ research center in Pangyo Techno Valley. An H-beam 15 meters long and three meters wide fell along with a pile of earth on a slope.

Six nearby office containers and a crane also collapsed.

Two construction workers and a security guard were killed inside the containers. Eight other workers who were trapped under heaps of earth and steel materials were rescued and taken to the hospital.

“While working, I heard someone shout, ‘Stop working and get out of the site.’ I turned to see what was happening, and I saw dump trucks and a crane along with earth and other materials falling down and hitting construction workers,” one of the rescued workers said. “The ground on which office containers were located and trucks ran was supported by H-beams. It looked unstable.”

Police said the weakened ground caused the accident. The frozen ground thawed due to warm weather and rain of 36 millimeters two days ago.

Construction site and safety managers are being interrogated to find the exact cause of the accident and to see if the proper precautionary measures were taken.

Investigators also want to know if the construction company failed to take preventive measures. Certain workers said they heard a strange sound from the wall for several days before the accident.

Two research buildings with five underground and eight to nine above ground floors were being built on the site, which is part of 660,000 square meters earmarked by the Gyeonggi Urban Innovation Corp. to build Pangyo Techno Valley, a state-of-the art research complex.

The bodies of the three dead victims were sent to Daejin Medical Center in Seongnam.

One of them worked at overseas construction sites including those in Saudi Arabia, and returned to work after retiring. Another was an electrician for a subcontractor, and is survived by his wife and two daughters.

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