In South Korea on Friday, October 17, 2014, fans of the Korean pop band 4Minute fell to their deaths in a tragic concert accident that resulted in the loss of 16 lives, a number that may rise as the aftermath unfolds. Fans had gathered onto a large ventilation grate to get a better view of the concert when the grate unexpectedly failed and sent them plummeting over sixty feet into a parking garage. The cause of the accident has not yet been determined.
The grate in question was elevated and fans presumably climbed up on top of it to get a better view of the band. Over 700 were in attendance at 4Minute’s performance which was part of an ongoing music festival at the venue. During the accident, the group kept performing without even realizing what had taken place. An attendee at the concert claimed that witnessing the event was like watching the victims get sucked into the ground. The grate was designed to give ventilation to the underground parking lot below.
In addition to the 16 deaths that resulted from the accident at the South Korean concert, eleven more people were injured in the fall, at least three of which are in severe condition. The grate was not apparently designed to carry the weight of 27 people, and as the investigation unfolds South Korean officials are assuming the cause of the catastrophe was strenuous weight on the vent. This raises the issue as to why the vent was not roped off during the event and whether or not South Korean safety regulations need to be firmly addressed. It is believed that the victims of the incident were likely on their way home from work and may not have attended the concert in full.
The situation in South Korea became increasingly tragic as the incident claimed an additional life. On Saturday morning, one of the organizers of the concert, only referred to as Mr. Oh, committed suicide in response to the accident. While little detail has been released about Oh’s death, a few facts have been established. The South Korean concert organizer had some part in enacting safety protocols for the show. He reportedly jumped from a ten story building and left a suicide note apologizing for the dead victims.
The debate of safety regulations that has resulted from the concert accident in South Korea that claimed 16 lives is nothing new to the country. Back in April a Sewol ferry capsized and the death toll rose to nearly three hundred. In a similar fashion, a heated debate of safety regulations resulted. Officials and politicians claimed that the ferry disaster was a product of lax safety measures and an investigation went on to find that the accident could have potentially been prevented had the vessel been restricted as a result of some issues surrounding its seaworthiness. Both tragedies have now furthered the push in the country to remedy safety concerns on a widespread basis. Further investigation into the accident will continue in the coming weeks as officials attempt to find the cause of the incident and why attendees were allowed onto the grate in the first place.
By Brett Stewart