Workers buried in rubble after 22m-deep pit collapses at chemicals research centre construction site

Three building workers have been killed and a further eight injured after a collapse at a construction site in Korea.

The men were buried under soil and debris when a metal beam buckled at a chemicals research centre in Pangyo on Sunday, causing six container boxes to fall 25m.

Eleven workers are thought to have become trapped under rubble in a 22m-deep pit at the site on the southern outskirts of Seoul.

One of the injured workers, 66-year-old Cha Seung-dong, told Korean newspaper JoongAng Daily: “When we were about to lay pipes at the excavation site, earth crumbled from the northern side. I ran in the other direction, but lost consciousness after being hit in the neck by a collapsing steel frame.”

Around 150 policemen and firefighters spent five hours trying to rescue workers trapped under the rubble.

The building, which is being developed for SK Chemicals as part of a new Seoul satellite city, began construction in September. It is thought the accident may have been triggered by rain and warm weather softening the ground around the site.

The scheme's main contractor, SK Engineering & Construction, said the company would “do its best to give medical treatment and compensation to the victims as well as to find the accurate cause of the accident”.