SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — South Korean rescue workers have pulled six bodies from trapped vehicles in a flooded tunnel as days of heavy rain triggered flash floods and landslides and destroyed homes, causing more of 30 dead and forcing thousands to evacuate, officials said Sunday.
Nearly 400 rescue workers, including divers, were searching the tunnel in the central city of Cheongju, where about 15 vehicles, including a bus, were swept away by a flash flood on Saturday night, Seo Jeong-il, the city’s fire chief , said in a briefing.
Nine survivors were rescued from the tunnel, but the total number of passengers trapped in vehicles was not immediately clear, Seo said.
South Korea has been hit by heavy rain since July 9. The downpour has forced nearly 6,000 people to evacuate and left 27,260 homes without power in the past few days while flooding or destroying dozens of homes, the Interior and Security Ministry said.
Bodies removed from vehicles in Cheongju were not immediately reflected in the ministry’s official death toll, which stood at 26 as of Sunday morning.
South Korea’s meteorological agency said parts of the country will continue to receive heavy rain. President Yoon Suk Yeol, who was visiting Ukraine on Saturday, asked Prime Minister Han Duck-soo to mobilize all available resources to respond to the disaster, according to Yoon’s office.