At least 16 South Korean music fans plummeted more than 65 feet to their deaths at an outdoor K-pop concert by the group 4Minute on Friday when a ventilation grate collapsed. The grate, which the victims had been standing on, had covered a concrete shaft that led to an underground garage. Eleven others were seriously injured in the accident, according to The Associated Press, which cites information from an official in Seongnam, a city to the south of Seoul. The BBC reports that the number of those killed and injured by the collapse could rise as investigations continue.
“Twelve people were killed at the scene, two others died while they were being rushed to the hospital,” the BBC reported a local fire official as saying, via South Korea’s Yonhap news agency. “Others are assumed to have passed away while receiving medical treatment.”
The victims have not been identified, but AP reports that YTN television network suggested that the concertgoers were mainly female students. About 700 people were in attendance at the concert, which was part of a local festival being held at what the BBC described as “a multi-purpose complex for technology firms.”
Fan-shot video from the concert showed 4Minute continuing with their concert, unaware of the disaster.
The grate itself was elevated to shoulder height for most concertgoers. The fans had likely climbed atop it to get a better view of the stage. The hole left by the grate appeared to be 10 to 14 feet square, according to AP. The cause of the collapse is not yet known.
“There was a sudden, loud screaming, and when I turned it looked as if people were being sucked down into a hole,” a concertgoer told YTN, according to the BBC.