Source Pravda.Ru

Mayor apologizes after concert stampede kills at least 11 in South Korea

The mayor apologized Tuesday after a stampede by fans hoping to attend a music concert left 11 dead and injured 98 in the South Korean town of Sangju.

"I'll take full responsibility" for the accident, Sangju Mayor Kim Keun-soo said at a mortuary set up next to City Hall where he met with relatives of the victims.

Another city official, Kim Seok-hee, said the city would pay compensation for the dead after consulting with families.

Injured in the Monday stampede were 98 people waiting to enter a stadium for a holiday performance of old Korean pop songs, city officials said.

The dead were eight women aged from 54 to 76, along with three boys aged 7, 12 and 14, officials said.

Police questioned 22 people about the accident, including five city officials, said Kim Yong-tae, the officer heading the investigating team. He said it was unclear how many people could face punishment.

At the stadium Tuesday morning, used bandages and bloodstained clothes littered the ground. The metal bars of one of the gates to the venue appeared to have been bent by the force of the pushing crowd.

One of the injured concertgoers said people had flocked to see the performance because such events were rare in the provincial city, located 270 kilometers (165 miles) southeast of Seoul.

"People kept pushing us from behind and I tried not to fall but couldn't help it," said Kwon Kang-sook, 54, sitting late Monday with an intravenous drip in her arm in the emergency room of Sangju Sungmo Hospital. She suffered a stomach injury.

She said each gate at the stadium had two doors, but that only one had been opened at the gate where the stampede occurred. "I wonder who prevented the door from opening," Kwon said, reports the AP.

P.T.