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Collapse of ventilation grate at South Korean pop concert leaves 16 dead

It’s believed the concert goers standing on the grate fell 65 feet.

Rescue workers stand around a collapsed ventilation grate at an outdoor theater in Seongnam, South Korea.
Rescue workers stand around a collapsed ventilation grate at an outdoor theater in Seongnam, South Korea.
Image: AP

Updated 14.30pm

SIXTEEN PEOPLE WATCHING an outdoor pop concert in South Korea fell 20 metres to their deaths today when a ventilation grate they were standing on collapsed, officials said.

Photos of the scene in Seongnam, just south of Seoul, showed a deep concrete shaft under the broken grate.

South Korea Concert Accident Source: AP

A Seongnam official announced the deaths during a televised briefing and said that 11 others were seriously injured.

Fire officials, speaking on condition of anonymity because of office rules, earlier said that the victims were standing on the grate while watching an outdoor performance by girls’ band 4Minute, which is popular across Asia.

About 700 people had gathered to watch the concert, which was part of a local festival, the Yonhap news agency reported.

South Korea Concert Accident Source: AP

The YTN television network, citing unidentified witnesses, said many of the spectators were female students. The victims weren’t immediately identified.

A video from the scene recorded by someone at the concert that later ran on YTN showed the band continuing to dance for a while in front of a crowd that appeared to be unaware of the accident.

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South Korea Concert Accident Police officers carry a sack containing shoes of victims after a ventilation grate was collapsed at an outdoor theatre in Seongnam. Source: AP

Meanwhile, dozens of people were shown standing next to the ventilation grate, gazing into the dark gaping hole where people had been standing to watch the performance. YTN said the ventilation grate was about 3 to 4 meters wide. Photos apparently taken at the scene showed that the ventilation grate reached to the shoulders of many passers-by.

The cause of the accident is not yet known.

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