South Korea: faulty signals blamed for Seoul metro crash

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South Korea: faulty signals blamed for Seoul metro crash

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The second serious transport accident in South Korea in just over a fortnight has left dozens of people injured – none seriously.

An underground train in the capital Seoul crashed into another one that had stopped at a station.

Two carriages were derailed. A metro official suggested that Friday afternoon’s accident was caused when the automatic distance control
system malfunctioned.

He said the driver of the moving train applied the emergency brake after noticing a stop signal, but was unable to halt the train in time.

South Korea is still mourning last month’s ferry disaster which left 300 people dead or missing.

As their ship sank, many obeyed instructions to stay on board and perished.

In Seoul an announcement telling people to stay on the train was widely ignored.

Many passengers forced open the doors and jumped out.

About 170 people were hurt, though of those taken to hospital most had bruises and other minor injuries.

“I suddenly heard a “bang” sound and my head hit another three people. I was in the sixth carriage and saw people in the fifth car crawling and walking out,” said one passenger, 77-year-old Kim Tae-Su.

“I felt an impact, but the train didn’t suddenly stop. The impact was strong so I wondered if a driver had tried to stop it. People were crying and making phone calls. It was chaos,” said a 21-year-old woman, Hur Ji-Hee.

Most people have emerged relatively unscathed from the crash.

But passengers talk of a blackout amid chaotic scenes in the carriages.

Coming so soon after the ferry tragedy, for many it was obviously an extremely disturbing experience.