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‘Gwangju apartment collapse accident’ falling objects one after another… Difficulty in Searching for Missing Persons (Comprehensive)

[광주=이데일리 이용성 기자] Falling objects fell one after another at the site of the collapse of the HDC Hyundai Industrial Development new apartment building in Hwajeong-dong, Seo-gu, Gwangju. The dismantling of the tower crane is also delayed due to safety concerns, making it difficult to search for missing persons.

The site of the collapse of a new apartment building in Hwajeong-dong, Gwangju on the 15th. (Photo = Yonhap News)

At a briefing on the afternoon of the 15th, Gwangju West Fire Chief Moon Hee-joon said, “Two objects fell from the 23rd floor of the building around 4:30 PM today.”

“There is a risk of further collapse, so all the rescue teams working inside to search for the missing people were evacuated outside the building,” said Chief Moon. As a result, the search operation was temporarily suspended, but the search resumed around 5:25 pm. The falling object was the size of a fist, and it was determined that no one was injured.

Rescuers believe there is a risk of further collapse. They determined that the risk of further collapse was high, especially for cranes currently leaning against collapsed buildings. Chief Mun added, “We believe that there is a high risk of collapse of the tower crane,” adding, “We are refraining from entering that part as much as possible.”

The search for the missing person is getting delayed as dangerous situations continue at various places of the collapse site. Earlier, at the time of the morning briefing, the right to suspend work had been invoked due to concerns about the risk of further collapse. According to Article 26 of the Occupational Safety and Health Act, the right to stop work is the right of a worker to stop work when there is an imminent risk of an industrial accident or when the stability of the work environment is not secured.

At the original site, the tower crane was scheduled to be dismantled at the same time as the assembly of a large 1200-ton mobile crane. However, the tower crane dismantling work was delayed from the 16th to the 21st due to concerns about the risk of further collapse. Seong-woo Min, head of the HDC Hyeonsan Safety Management Office, said, “It will take one day to assemble the (mobile crane), one day to reinforce the ground, and one day to reinforce the wire.”

Prior to dismantling the tower crane, rescue authorities are first handling debris on the ground floor. On that day, rescue authorities conducted a search for people there along with the removal of concrete from the first floor of the front of the building.

Meanwhile, rescue authorities also revealed that the rescue dog showed a weak reaction on the 25th floor. However, Chief Mun added, “I am not sure that there are missing people,” adding, “There is a possibility of confusion as the collection remains after the search for rescuers.”

Earlier, at around 3:47 pm on the 11th, while pouring concrete on the roof of the 39th floor of the Hyundai I-Park construction site in Hwajeong-dong, Seo-gu, Gwangju, the outer walls and structures from the 23rd to the 38th floor collapsed. Six workers were missing at the time of the accident. One out of six people was found dead the day before, and rescue operations for the remaining five are ongoing.

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