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SOUTH KOREA

Helicopter clips Seoul building, crashes, leaving two dead

Foggy weather apparently caused the accident, a government official said

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 16 November, 2013, 12:18pm
UPDATED : Sunday, 17 November, 2013, 3:51am
 

A helicopter plunged to the ground in Seoul yesterday, killing the two pilots, after its propeller clipped the side of a 38-storey luxury apartment building.

Fire official Cha Yang-oh told reporters that the helicopter crashed in the upscale Gangnam district in southeastern Seoul. The helicopter, belonging to LG Electronics, was on its way to a nearby landing field where it was scheduled to pick up LG employees and head to a city in the nation's south.

Cha said 57-year-old captain Park In-kyu died. A 36-year-old vice-captain survived the crash but died later in hospital. LG Electronics said the two were company employees.

Cha said no one was hurt in the apartment tower. The I-Park building is one of the most expensive apartment buildings in Seoul.

"I heard a blast sound while I was sleeping, so I ran out. The boom sounded like a war had started," said Jeong Young-woo, 54, an apartment tower resident. TV footage showed shattered windows on the upper levels of the building. The helicopter was wrecked except for its tail section.

Hundreds of police officers, rescue workers and soldiers were deployed to help clear the wreckage and evacuate residents after the accident.

Seoul was foggy yesterday morning but Cha declined to say if the fog played a role in the crash.

One official for the National Emergency Management Agency said the weather appeared to be the cause.

"It appears that the pilots lost visual due to extremely foggy weather," said the official, who declined to be named.

Gangnam is Seoul's trendy district and became famous due to the smash hit music video of rapper Psy, Gangnam Style.

Additional reporting by Agence France-Presse

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