16 dead in Korean outdoor concert mishap

At least 16 spectators died and 10 seriously injured in a mishap at an outdoor concert in Seongnam, Korea, on October 17, 2014. They fell 20 metres into an underground parking area when the ventilation grates (which they were not supposed to stand on) gave way under their weight. Image by TheFact [Kr].

Seongnam outdoor concert fatal accident

The accident happened around 5pm KST, two were confirmed dead initially, but the numbers continued to rise in the past few hours. 20 metres is about five stories, and the bottom is most probably hard concrete; it’s a really bad scenario, hope it won’t get any worse.

The concert featured pop groups 4Minute and T-ara etc. The organisers obviously underestimated the crowd the concert would attract, the seats were very limited and people were standing in whatever spots they could find. Unfortunately some people made a fatal choice.

The country’s public safety standard is already under heavy scrutiny since the Sewol ferry disaster, it’s going to intensify after this. To be fair the vent area is waist-high, people won’t step on it by accident. It’s also reported that the securities had warn people to not climb on the vent but to no avail.

The shaft design (20 metres straight down) is definitely flawed though, I’m not sure it’s a common thing elsewhere (I’ve seen a few in Seoul, not sure if it’s as deep) but to have a 20 metres hole in a populated public area is quite daunting; the grates need to be stronger to cover the structural shortcoming.

That being said, people need to have more common sense. The vent design was bad, the concert organiser was partly blameable, but ultimately it’s the lack of public safety awareness that caused the accident. Many of the victims were adults, it sounds cruel to blame the death, and I’m not saying they deserved the outcome… it’s just that the tragedy could have been easily prevented, it’s just sad.

May the victims rest in peace. Condolences to the families and relatives.

Hong Kong protest seen from above

Thousands of demonstrators, many of them students, have occupied the streets in Hong Kong to protest Beijing’s decision to vet the candidates for the Chief Executive of Hong Kong election in 2017 (which technically means Hong Kong can only choose a pro-Beijing leader, kinda makes the election pointless.)

This is a video taken from a drone, originally by Nero Chan on Facebook, on September 29. The crowd has reportedly got even bigger in the past couple of days and will probably continue to grow during this holiday period, as China is celebrating its National Day on October 1.

Not sure how this is going to end. I don’t think Beijing is going to back down on this; they may resort to force if the demonstration continues, which is something I don’t want to see. For my friends in Hong Kong, stay strong, whether you are on the streets or against it. Peace.

Jessica forced out of Girls’ Generation

Didn’t see this coming. Korean pop group Girls’ Generation, one of the biggest K-pop acts, has kicked a member, Jessica, out of the group. There’s no sign that this would happen; the timing couldn’t be weirder as all the members have just renewed their contracts a few weeks ago. The fans must be shocked.

Jessica posted a message on her Weibo early this morning (September 30, 5am KST), quote…

I was excited about our upcoming fan events only to shockingly be informed by my company and 8 others that as of today, I’m no longer a member. I’m devastated – my priority and love is to serve as a member of GG, but for no justifiable reason, I am being forced out.

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