Subway construction accident kills worker

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Subway construction accident kills worker

Enormous cable drums weighing two tons each fell off a freight car at an underground construction site of the Gyeongui Subway Line, killing one construction worker and injuring nine others, Korea Rail Network Authority said yesterday.

The state-run rail authority said a freight car carrying three two-ton cable drums bound from Hongdaeipgu Station rear-ended another freight train at a downhill section of a line being constructed at Gajwa Station at 1:20 a.m. yesterday. It’s possible the brakes on the car failed.

Police, who are investigating the case, said both cars involved in the accident had been modified from road-use to rail-use and the modifications might have been faulty, raising a larger safety issue for the railways.

All three cable drums fell off the freight car and plowed into construction workers, killing a 32-year-old worker surnamed Lim. Two injured workers were discharged from a nearby hospital, but seven more are still being treated.

The Gyeongui Subway Line connects Yongsan Station and Munsan Station in Paju, Gyeonggi. The line is expected to be completed in 2014.

The police believe the brake on the modified car failed because the original form of the vehicle, which was used on roads rather than on rails, didn’t carry such heavy cargo.

“There are rules about freight trains for sections where subways operate, but construction companies usually manage and control most of the tools and equipment being used at construction sites,” a spokesman from the Korea Rail Network Authority said.

The Gajwa construction field is managed by Taesung Corporation. “If we find any illegal equipment modification, we will take necessary actions in accordance with the relevant regulations,” the official added.

By Kim Han-byul, Han Yeong-ik [sakwon80@joongang.co.kr]

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