SEOUL (Reuters) – Up to 10 people are feared dead and nearly 120 injured after a suspected arson attack on a subway line by a lone man in South Korea’s third largest city, Taegu, YTN television and officials say.
YTN television, which showed images of black smoke billowing from an entrance to an underground railway station, said an unspecified number of passengers were still trapped after suspected attack, which occurred at around 10 a.m. (1:00 a.m. British time).
Taegu city hall put the number of injured at 112 and said 66 fire trucks were at the scene.
“A man in his 40s dressed in a tracksuit set fire to a plastic milk carton containing a flammable liquid and threw it inside the subway train,” Yonhap news agency quoted a witness as saying.
There were no further details on the man or his motives.
A fire department official in the southeastern city, which was a venue for the soccer World Cup last year, said firefighters were still at the scene.
“We are still trying to assess the situation as passengers are being transported to hospital. We don’t know exactly how many passengers have been affected, but the fire appears to have been caused by arson,” the official said by telephone.
YTN television said firefighters were having difficulty entering the subway because of the smoke. It quoted a fire official as saying the death toll was likely to mount.
“You should rescue people here,” one middle-aged woman cried in comments aimed at firefighters and televised by YTN. Most of those hurt were being treated for smoke inhalation.
“They were seriously injured,” chief nurse Shin Kyung-in at the nearby Kwak hospital told Reuters, referring to the 19 people admitted to her emergency unit so far. The single subway line runs through the central part of Taegu, which has long been the country’s centre for the textile and dyeing industry as well fashion.
A second subway line is being built.