Painters Killed in South Korea Shipyard Blast
Four men were killed in an explosion while performing painting work at a shipyard in the South Gyeongsang Province of South Korea on Sunday (Aug. 20).
Korea Times reported that, according to firefighters responding to the scene, the accident occurred inside a 74,000-ton oil tanker at 11:37 a.m. The tanker, which was under construction, was located at an STX Offshore and Shipbuilding’s Shipyard in Jinhae, an industrial hub along the southeastern coast of the country.
According to the Korea Times, those involved in the incident were ages 33, 45, 52 and 53. At the time of the explosion, the four men were painting inside the 39-foot-deep tanker, which was reportedly scheduled to be delivered to a Greek shipping company in October.
"I heard a bang and immediately turned my head. And then I saw smoke coming out of the ship," a worker told the Times.
They added that the smoke kept coming out for an additional 20 to 30 minutes.
The Changwon Fire Station reported to the emergency call. At around 1:30 p.m. that afternoon, firefighters pulled the bodies of the four men from the scene of the accident and transferred them to a nearby hospital.
According to Reuters, no additional injuries were reported by officials from the National Fire Agency.
"We will cooperate with police to look further into the cause of the accident and the scale of the damage," a firefighter told the Times.
Authorities are still investigating the cause of the explosion.
STX Offshore and Shipbuilding did not respond to a request for comment on Monday (Aug. 21).
Sunday's fire was not the first fatal incident at a South Gyeongsang Province shipyard facility this year. In May, the collision of two cranes at a nearby Samsung Heavy Industries shipyard resulted in structures falling on people working below. In that incident, 20 workers were injured and six died.