Two killed in explosion at weapons plant

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Two killed in explosion at weapons plant

Two workers were killed in an explosion yesterday at a weapons manufacturing plant in Angang-eup, Gyeongju, North Gyeongsang.

Police said the two victims, surnamed Kwak, 49, and Kwon, 46, who were working in a detonator room at Poongsan Corporation, died instantly.

The explosion, which took place around 11:45 a.m., damaged a half of the 60-square-meter (645-square-foot) plant, investigators said. The cause of the explosion is not yet known.

Police said the epicenter of the explosion was a room where workers produce gunpowder detonators. The detonators are used with small-caliber ammunition designed for M16 rifles.

At the time of the explosion, rain was falling heavily and no additional blast took place.

“Detonators almost never explode, so we can’t tell what the cause is now,” said an executive at the plant. “We are going to investigate by sending the company’s security team to the scene. Police will also provide assistance.”

An officer who requested anonymity said, “We will first examine security conditions in the room. We’re going to examine the site of the explosion, then question firm executives.”

Poongsan, founded in 1968, operates two defense product plants in Busan’s Dongnae District and Angang-eup. Both factories manufacture small- to large-caliber ammunition, ranging from 5.56-milimeter cartridges to eight-inch projectiles for howitzers.

The plants also produce ammunition designed for antiaircraft guns, mortars and tanks.


By Lee Min-yong [smartpower@joongang.co.kr]

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