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By Christine Kim and Sohee Kim
SEOUL May 2 South Korea suffered its second
serious transport accident in just over two weeks on Friday when
a subway train in the capital, Seoul, crashed into a train at a
station, injuring 200 people although no one was killed.
The country is still mourning the victims of a ferry
accident on April 16, when 300 people were killed or are missing
in the submerged hull of a capsized ship in the country's worst
disaster in 20 years.
Most of those hurt in the mid-afternoon accident on Friday
appeared to have suffered minor abrasions, according to
emergency officials at Sangwangsimni station in the east of the
capital, although one person was being treated for a brain
hemorrhage and one for a fracture.
"An incoming train crashed into one that was stopped at the
station," fire department official Kim Kyung-su told a news
About 1,000 people were evacuated, Kim said.
Seoul Metro official Chung Soo-young said the accident was
caused by a signal failure and that two subway cars were
"I fell forwards maybe two or three metres," said Lee
Dong-hyeon, 26, an office worker on the train that crashed into
the one stopped at the station.
"It was like tripping over when running really fast."
About 4.5 million passengers use Seoul's modern metro system
The last major accident on a South Korean subway system was
in 2003 when 192 were killed in a subway fire in the city of
Daegu, which prompted major safety improvements.
Last month's ferry accident off the southwest coast led to
the resignation of the prime minister and President Park
Geun-hye's approval rating has dropped sharply due to the slow
response of rescue services.
More than 300 schoolchildren were on the ferry and many were
ordered to stay on board as it sank by crew members who then got
off the ship.
On Friday, an announcement on the train telling passengers
to remain where they were was widely ignored. Many passengers
forced open the train doors and jumped down onto the track to
get away, witnesses said.
Seoul Mayor Park Won-soon was at the scene of the crash. The
metro is operated by the city of Seoul.
A Gallup Korea poll issued before the train accident on
Friday showed President Park's rating had plunged by 11
percentage points in the past two weeks to 48 percent.
(Reporting by Kahyun Yang, Cho Meeyoung, Ju-min Park, Jack Kim,
Se Young Lee and Minu Bak; Editing by David Chance and Robert