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South Korea

High-speed train derails in South Korea, injuring 15

Sharp drop in temperature thought to have hurt rail conditions

GANGNEUNG, South Korea (Kyodo) -- A high-speed train with 198 passengers aboard derailed in South Korea on Saturday, injuring 15 people onboard, local media reported.

The KTX bullet train went off the tracks around five minutes after departing from Gangneung city, located 237 kilometers east of Seoul, en route to the capital, Yonhap News Agency reported.

The train's operator Korea Railroad Corp. (KORAIL) said the train was travelling at around 103 kilometers per hour when accident occurred around 7:35 a.m.

All 10 cars of the train derailed, with four of them coming to rest at sharp angles to the tracks.

The 15 passengers who suffered minor injuries were transferred to nearby hospitals, while the remaining passengers were bussed to other stations. Most of the injured were allowed to return home later in the day.

KORAIL President Oh Young Sik told a press conference that the accident is believed to have been caused by a problem in the track arising from a sudden drop in the temperature.

He indicated that the exact cause of the accident will not be known until an investigation by the authorities is completed.

Members of the Aviation and Railway Accident Investigation Board, an agency of the government, have been dispatched to the scene of the accident.

The temperature Saturday morning was minus 8.4 C.

It is the first major accident on the rail line connecting Seoul and Gangneung, according to Yonhap. The route opened in December last year as a key transport link for the PyeongChang Winter Olympics in February this year.

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