No safety personnel deployed at K-pop concert that killed 16 people

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​No safety personnel were deployed at an outdoor concert for K-pop group 4Minute where the collapse of a ventilation grate killed 16 people and injured nine others, said South Korean police.

"From the beginning, there were no safety personnel for the concert," said a police spokesman.

Officials from Edaily, a Korean Internet news provider that financed and organised the concert, were also questioned.

On Sunday, the chairman of Edaily, Kwak Jae Sun, apologised to the families of those killed and said his company will take responsibility if they were found to be accountable for the fatal incident.

"An unexpected incident happened due to structural problems and negligence," he said. "As a responsible news company and a host of the event, we will assume responsibility if there is any."

Victims fell 18m into underground carpark

When the grate collapsed, victims fell 18.7 metres down into an underground parking area.

Amateur video footage obtained by television stations showed shocked spectators surrounding the collapsed grate as the popular k-pop girl group 4Minute, apparently oblivious to the accident, continued performing on stage.



Witnesses have told media there were no security guards or safety fences to prevent spectators overflowing, with dozens of people chanting and dancing on the grating despite warnings by show organisers.

Lack of emphasis on safety in Korea

“Over the past decades, economic expansion always took precedence over safety concerns, resulting in a lack of safety consciousness among Koreans,” said Seoul National University professor Chung Jae-Hee.

The country is still grappling with the aftermath of the Sewol ferry disaster in April that left more than 300 dead, most of them high school students.

That tragedy prompted government promises of a national review of safety standards, as it became clear that poor regulatory oversight was a major contributor to the scale of the tragedy.


Related report: S. Korean official found dead after 16 die in concert accident

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