South Korea Subway Arson Kills at Least 120

Fire raced through two subway trains packed with people in South Korea on Tuesday after a man ignited a carton filled with flammable material, killing about 120 people and injuring 135, officials said.


Rescuers brought victims, their faces and clothes black with soot, up to the street in stretchers and slid them into ambulances. One witness recounted the terrifying scene inside the subway as the fire ignited.

``The man kept flickering a lighter and an old man told him to stop. The man dropped the lighter and the train caught fire,'' an unidentified male survivor told YTN. ``Several young men seized him, but the fire spread and black smoke rose. Then everyone rushed out.''

One man told YTN that his friend called on his cell phone and said he was trapped inside one of the cars. The unidentified man told YTN that he had called subway officials and they were unaware of the fire at the time.

President Kim Dae-jung ordered the government to consider designating the accident site as a special disaster zone, which would give it priority in receiving government aid and other assistance.

Daegu, one of the 10 World Cup soccer venues last year, has a population of 2.5 million.