September 29, 2023

Brighton Journal

Complete News World

Seven dead in South Korea as a result of flash floods trapped 15 vehicles in a tunnel | flood news

Seven dead in South Korea as a result of flash floods trapped 15 vehicles in a tunnel |  flood news

Rescue workers find seven bodies in the Osung Tunnel as they scramble to reach people trapped by floods caused by days of heavy rain.

Rescue workers in South Korea have pulled out seven bodies from a bus trapped in a flooded underground tunnel, according to media reports, as days of heavy rain triggered widespread flooding, landslides and a major dam overflow.

Officials in the central town of Osung told Yonhap News Agency on Sunday that rescue workers pulled six more bodies from the 685-meter (2,247-foot) tunnel as they scrambled to reach several people who were still trapped.

Nearly 400 rescue workers, including divers, were searching the tunnel in the central city of Cheongju, where vehicles, including a bus, were swept away by floods on Saturday night, said Seo Jeong-il, chief of the city’s fire department. In brief.

Photos and videos from the scene showed rescue workers creating a perimeter and pumping brown water out of the tunnel while divers used inflatable boats to navigate in and out of the area.

Rescue workers carry the body of a victim recovered near a submerged tunnel in Cheongju, South Korea [Kim Hong-ji/Reuters]

The four-lane tunnel was flooded when the banks of the nearby Mehoe River collapsed after three days of heavy rain.

According to media reports, the flood engulfed the tunnel so fast that people could not escape. Fire officials estimated that the tunnel filled with water in less than two or three minutes.

Rescue workers pulled one body from the tunnel on Saturday and rescued nine people who survived by clinging to the sides of the guard rails around the tunnel, according to the Korea Herald, officials said.

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There were 15 cars, including the bus and 12 cars, trapped in the tunnel and 11 people were reported missing on Saturday.

“There were many cars inside the tunnel when the water started flowing in and it increased very quickly,” one of the nine survivors told Yonhap on Saturday.

“I don’t understand why the tunnel was not closed earlier.”

Officials said there were 15 vehicles, including a bus and 12 cars, trapped in the tunnel and 11 people were reported missing. [Kim Hong-ji/Reuters]

South Korea, which is at the peak of the summer monsoon season, has been hit by heavy rains since July 9.

The Ministry of Interior and Safety said late Saturday that landslides and floods caused by rainfall had killed 26 people on Saturday and Friday. All deaths were reported in the central and southeastern regions of the country.

The majority of the victims – including 17 dead – were from North Gyeongsang Province, where another nine are still missing, largely due to massive landslides in the mountainous region that swept away homes and the people inside.

In the worst-hit areas, “entire homes were completely swept away,” an emergency responder told Yonhap.

The ministry said the rains forced some 5,570 people to evacuate. The figure included thousands ordered to flee their homes after the Goesan Dam in North Chungcheong Province began flooding on Saturday morning, inundating nearby low-lying villages.

It added that more than 4,200 people remained in temporary shelters as of Saturday night.

The ministry said heavy rains disrupted travel across the country, leading to the cancellation of about 20 flights and the suspension of regular train service and some express trains.

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She added that nearly 200 roads are still closed.

President Yun Sok-yul, who was visiting Ukraine on Saturday, asked Prime Minister Han Duk-soo to mobilize all available resources to respond to the disaster, according to his office.

The prime minister urged officials to avoid river floods as well as landslides and requested support for rescue operations from the Defense Ministry.

Meanwhile, the Korea Meteorological Administration issued heavy rain warnings, saying that more rain is expected until Wednesday next week, and that the weather conditions pose a “serious” danger.

South Korea regularly experiences floods during the summer monsoon period, but the country is usually well prepared and the death toll is usually relatively low.

It endured record rains and floods last year, which claimed at least 11 lives. Among them were three people trapped in a semi-basement apartment in Seoul of the kind made known internationally by the Oscar-winning Korean film Parasite.

The South Korean government said at the time that the 2022 floods were the heaviest rainfall since weather records began in Seoul 115 years ago and blamed climate change for the severe weather.