8 government officials die after van crashes in fog

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8 government officials die after van crashes in fog


Agriculture Minister Chang Tae-pyong on Saturday visited a memorial altar at Samsung Medical Center in Seoul for ministry officials who died. [YONHAP]

Eight government officials died in a car accident on Friday night in Taean County, South Chungcheong, after participating in a workshop. Police suspect that the vehicle crashed into a rock after hitting a foggy patch.

Seven of the dead were officials at the regional development division of the Ministry for Food, Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries including Kim Young-jun, 42, the division head. Moon Sun-ho, 54, an employee at the Taean County office, was driving the officials back to their lodging in a minivan, a Kia Grand Carnival, after they attended a workshop regarding regional agricultural development.

Officials at the workshop finished dinner at around 8:35 p.m. Friday, according to the ministry. After the vehicle was over two hours late in arriving at the lodging, officials who had taken another van went searching for the group and found the vehicle around 11:56 p.m. “By the time police got there, all those inside the van were dead,” said an official of the Taean maritime police.

“As this tragedy occurred while the officials were on the job, we plan to discuss the matter with the Ministry of Public Administration and Security so that it can be classified under ‘death in the line of duty’,” said an official at the agriculture ministry. Agriculture Minister Chang Tae-pyong ordered that the funeral for the officials be handled as a ministry ceremony.

Thirteen out of 16 officials at the regional division participated in the workshop.

By Cho Jae-eun [jainnie@joongang.co.kr]

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