South Korean rescuers find man at collapsed construction site

South Korean rescuers at a collapsed construction site in the southern city of Gwangju have found a man among a pile of debris and broken concrete as they search for six missing construction workers on a third day

SEOUL, South Korea — South Korean rescuers at a collapsed construction site in the southern city of Gwangju found a man among a pile of debris and shattered concrete on a third day of searching for six missing construction workers, officials said on Thursday.

Gwangju city official Yoo Man-geun said crews were trying to clear the rubble to find the man, but it had not been confirmed whether he was alive or one of the missing workers.

Dozens of rescuers, aided by dogs equipped with thermal cameras and drones, were searching the scene, but their movements have been slowed by concerns about the stability of the high-rise building. Partial breakdown on Tuesday.

Gwangju Mayor Lee Yong-sub said HDC Hyundai Development, the main contractor for the condo project, plans to deploy driverless excavators to clear rubble and use nets and other safety measures to prevent further collapse of the structure.

About 10 cars were destroyed, nearly 200 nearby homes and shops were forced to evacuate after buildings partially collapsed, debris scattered on nearby streets and a large pile of rubble was left under the towering 39-story structure, now exposed Externally damaged steel beams.

The incident sparked public outrage in a country that has long been responsible for deadly accidents due to lax safety standards and regulations, which experts say are often overlooked as the country rises from poverty and war to Asia’s economic powerhouse.

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

Officials said the construction site employed 394 workers, including six who remained unaccounted for after the accident.

Emergency crews rescued three workers on Tuesday, two of them trapped in a container that had been struck by debris, but the search was halted hours later amid fears the structure could collapse further.

Search and rescue work resumed Wednesday following security checks by government and private experts, who believe it is safe for rescuers to search the interior of the building. Inspectors were concerned about the crumbling exterior of the building and parts near the pile of rubble, which were mainly searched by dogs and drones.

The Gwangju city government has suspended all construction work by HDC in Gwangju and has begun an investigation into the cause of the accident.

HDC was also involved in a fatal accident in Gwangju last June, when a five-story building demolished for a construction project collapsed and debris fell onto a bus, killing nine people on board.