News: South Korea subway toll soars
Tuesday, February 18, 2003 Posted: 4:06 AM EST (0906 GMT)
DAEGU, South Korea (CNN) -- Firefighters searching a burned out subway station in South Korea are reported to have found about 100 more bodies inside a wrecked train.
The find follows an apparent arson attack at the station in the southern city of Daegu at about 10 am local time (0100 GMT), local television news networks reported.
Prior to the reports the official death toll stood at at least 32.
With 135 people injured, many seriously, and at least 90 people listed as missing, officials say they expect the death toll to rise much higher.
With the fire largely extinguished, firefighters dressed in breathing gear are searching the station and surrounding tunnels for those trapped and missing.
Rescuers initially had trouble entering the station to tackle the blaze because of heavy black smoke and toxic gases billowing out of the tunnels.
Among the dead recovered so far are the bodies of 14 subway employees found on a station platform where they had been trapped by the fire.
Police believe the fire was an arson attack, and are questioning a man witnesses saw throwing a milk carton filled with a flammable substance into a train.
"A man in his 40s dressed in a tracksuit set fire to a plastic milk carton containing a flammable liquid and threw it inside the subway train," a witness told South Korea's Yonhap news agency.
Police have not given any indication as to the motive for the attack.
In the minutes after the blaze broke out, thick smoke poured from the subway entrances and ventilation shafts.
Dozens of fire engines rushed to the scene and ambulances ferried the injured to hospitals across the city.
YTN, a national cable news channel, reported that some of the injured were in a serious condition, many suffering from the effects of smoke inhalation.
The single subway line runs through the center of Daegu, the third largest city in South Korea with a population of about 2.5 million.
when will it ever stop?!
It was 15 Minutes away from my house. Such a tragedy....