Metal object smashes train window, injuring 7

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Metal object smashes train window, injuring 7

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An octagonal piece of metal, left, crashed into the window of a running train that departed on Sunday from Yongsan Station in central Seoul for Yeosu, South Jeolla, injuring seven passengers. [POLICE, SUWON FIRE STATION]

Seven passengers on a train departing Yongsan Station in central Seoul for Yeosu, South Jeolla, on Sunday sustained injuries after a piece of metal flew into a window and shattered it.

Authorities have yet to figure out with certainty where the object came from, but said Monday they assume it was from the same train. Officials from the train’s operator, the state-run Korea Railroad Corporation, or Korail, are being summoned by police for questioning. None of the passengers came into direct contact with the octagonal piece of metal, which according to local authorities, weighed about 10 kilograms (22 pounds) and was 20 centimeters (7.9 inches) long and 4 centimeters wide.

The Mugunghwa train was passing Yeongdeungpo Station in western Seoul on its way to its next stop, Suwon Station in Gyeonggi, when the accident occurred at 1:18 p.m.

Seven people were injured by broken glass. Five were hospitalized but none are seriously injured. They were all discharged by Monday.

Passengers near the area were evacuated to nearby cabins. Every passenger got off in Daejeon and took a different train until their final destination, Yeosu.

Police downplayed any chance that the metal was hurled by a person, saying the location at the time of the accident was off limits to people. No CCTVs were found nearby.

The metal appeared to have been from the lower part of a connector that linked two cabins, police said without specifying further. Another possible scenario, officers said, was that the object previously fell off another train and landed on the railway, only to fly back up on Sunday when the Mugunghwa ran over it.

An official from Korail said the company formed a special inspection team to check all train connectors. Police said it was told by the railroad operator that injured passengers would be compensated.

BY KIM MIN-WOOK [lee.sungeun@joongang.co.kr]

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