Damaged subway trains are seen at a subway station in Seoul. Photo by Reuters
South Korea has suffered its second serious transport
accident in just over two weeks, with a subway train in the
capital of Seoul crashing into a train at a station, injuring
The country is still mourning the victims of a ferry accident
on April 16, when 300 people were killed or are missing in
the submerged hull of a capsized ship in the country's worst
disaster in 20 years.
Most of those hurt in the mid-afternoon accident on Friday
(local time) appeared to have suffered minor abrasions,
according to emergency officials at Sangwangsimni station in
the east of the capital, although one person was being
treated for a brain hemorrhage and one for a fracture.
"An incoming train crashed into one that was stopped at the
station," fire department official Kim Kyung-su told a news
About 1000 people were evacuated, Kim said.
Seoul Metro official Chung Soo-young said the accident was
caused by a signal failure and that two subway cars were
"I fell forwards maybe two or three metres," said Lee
Dong-hyeon, 26, an office worker on the train that crashed
into the one stopped at the station.
"It was like tripping over when running really fast."
About 4.5 million passengers use Seoul's modern metro system
The last major accident on a South Korean subway system was
in 2003 when 192 were killed in a subway fire in the city of
Daegu, which prompted major safety improvements.
Last month's ferry accident off the southwest coast led to
the resignation of the prime minister and President Park
Geun-hye's approval rating has dropped sharply due to the
slow response of rescue services.
More than 300 schoolchildren were on the ferry and many were
ordered to stay on board as it sank by crew members who then
got off the ship.
On Friday, an announcement on the train telling passengers to
remain where they were was widely ignored. Many passengers
forced open the train doors and jumped down onto the track to
get away, witnesses said.
Seoul Mayor Park Won-soon was at the scene of the crash. The
metro is operated by the city of Seoul.
A Gallup Korea poll issued before the train accident on
Friday showed President Park's rating had plunged by 11
percentage points in the past two weeks to 48 percent.