Gas explosion kills two in Yeongam

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Gas explosion kills two in Yeongam

A massive gas explosion at a shipyard in Yeongam, South Jeolla, killed at least two and injured nine yesterday.

The explosion occurred in a heavy industry factory in the Daebul Industrial Complex in Yeongam at 8:09 a.m., where employees were in the final process of shipbuilding.

The two dead have been identified as a 47-year-old female employee and a Vietnamese male employee in his 40s.

Emergency workers stated that there was believed to be 12 employees on the site in the midst of welding components for a 160-ton shipping vessel at the time of the explosion but thus far 11 people have been accounted for.

These welders were mostly subcontracted. The two employees that had been welding inside the vessel were discovered dead while the injured were transferred to hospitals immediately.

Two are in a critical condition while the remaining hospitalized workers are suffering from burns and fractures.

Police initially had difficulty identifying the two dead because their bodies were so badly burned.

A shipyard employee working nearby stated, “I heard a loud explosion and ran toward the location. It was pandemonium. The ceiling had blown off and shattered glass was everywhere.”

Police said the shipyard employees stated that they smelled gas when they first entered the factory but decided to keep working anyway.

The police are in the process of questioning the factory supervisors and inspecting the cause of the explosion if there was a liquefied petroleum gas leak.

The police will further determine if proper safety procedures were taken and if the gas valves were turned off after operation the night before and whether the ventilators were working properly.

By Sarah Kim [sarahkim@joongang.co.kr]

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