5 killed, 1 injured in S Korean helicopter crash

Updated: 2014-07-17 14:57


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5 killed, 1 injured in S Korean helicopter crash

Firefighters inspect the wreckage of a helicopter which crashed near an apartment complex in Gwangju July 17, 2014. [Photo/Agencies]

SEOUL - Five people have been killed and one wounded in a South Korean helicopter crash that occurred in the country's southern city on Thursday morning, YTN and Yonhap News Agency reported.

A South Korean firefighting helicopter crashed in downtown Gwangju, around 330 km south of the capital Seoul. The firefighting authorities received the accident report at about 10: 53 am local time.

The chopper crashed into the southern city's downtown, where one-room apartments and commercial buildings stand close together.

Five firefighters on board the crashed chopper all have been confirmed dead, including two pilots, one engineer and two rescuers.

One female student, who was waiting for a bus at the bus stop near the site, was injured after the crash. She was taken to a nearby hospital for treating her minor injury.

The helicopter dropped in the sidewalk right beside the road, with the chopper caught under fire. Witnesses said it continued spinning around at a low altitude until before the crash, as if it was looking for a peopleless place.

Around 10 meters from the site, there are a school, an apartment complex and single-family houses lying close together. If the helicopter falls into the dwellings, it could have led to massive casualties.

The fire has been extinguished completely, and firefighters were recovering the remains of the crashed helicopter.

The chopper was estimated to crash on the worsened weather, but the exact cause has been under investigation.

The helicopter, which belongs to the fire headquarters in the east Gangwon Province, was on its way back after supporting search operations for the missing people of the deadly ferry disaster.

The ferry Sewol capsized and sank off the southwest coast on April 16, leaving more than 300 people, mostly high school students, dead or missing. Eleven people remained unaccounted for.

The latest case of helicopter crash in the country was a private chopper, which belonged to LG Electronics, falling into a high-rise apartment in Seoul's populous Gangnam district. It left two pilots dead.

The chopper plunged into the upper part of a 38-story apartment building and dropped to the ground. No one inside the apartment was hurt as most of them were evacuated.

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