Two dead after firefighters’ helicopter crashes in South Korea

Helicopter involved in search operations following the April sinking of the passenger ferry Sewol crashes in the southern city of Gwangju, killing two

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 17 July, 2014, 11:50am
UPDATED : Thursday, 17 July, 2014, 5:54pm

A firefighting helicopter crashed on Thursday near an apartment complex and school in the southern city of Gwangju, killing two people, South Korean officials said.

The helicopter was returning to headquarters in the eastern provincial firefighting agency after participating in search operations for 11 people still missing after the sinking of the ferry Sewol in April that killed more than 290, fire officials in Gwangju said speaking on condition of anonymity because of office rules.

Two corpses were aboard the helicopter, which was believed to be carrying five people at the time of the crash, the officials said. A female high school student on the ground received a minor injury, they said. Officials said they were searching for more casualties.

An official at the firefighting agency in the eastern Gwangwon province said a total of five fire officials took the helicopter on Monday when they left for search operations for the missing people from the ferry disaster. He also spoke on condition of anonymity in line with department rules.

TV images showed the burning helicopter and a plume of black smoke rising up above buildings.

The sinking of the ferry caused widespread concern about South Korea’s lax safety culture. Most of the dead were high school students.



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