Rescuers resume search at collapsed construction site in South Korea

South Korean rescuers have resumed the search for six missing construction workers believed to be trapped at a collapsed construction site in the southern city of Gwangju

SEOUL, South Korea — South Korean rescuers continued their search on Wednesday for six missing construction workers believed to be trapped at a collapsed construction site in the southern city of Gwangju.

Dozens of nearby homes and shops were forced to evacuate after a high-rise apartment building under construction in the city’s Hwajeongdong district partially collapsed on Tuesday afternoon, destroying about 10 cars. The incident left a pile of debris scattered on nearby streets.

Emergency crews rescued three workers, two of them trapped in a rubble-smashed shipping container, but their operations were halted hours later amid fears the 39-story building could collapse further.

Gwangju Mayor Lee Yong-sub said inspectors believed it was safe enough for rescuers to enter the building’s inner floors. However, inspectors are concerned about the area near the outside of the structure’s collapse, which Lee said will be searched primarily by drones and dogs.

Officials said 394 workers were employed at the construction site, including six who remained in contact with the outside world since the accident.

Li and other officials did not specifically mention the possibility of workers being found alive.

The city government has suspended all construction work in Gwangju by HDC Hyundai Development Co., the main contractor for the Hwajeong-dong apartment project, and has begun an investigation into the cause of the accident.

In June last year, a fatal accident occurred in Gwangju, when a five-story building under demolition collapsed and debris fell on a bus, killing nine people on board.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in ordered officials to investigate the cause of Tuesday’s collapse and called for stronger safety measures to prevent similar accidents, his office said.

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