Concert tragedy blamed on poorly built vent grate

October 27, 2014

SUWON, South Korea (Yonhap) — A poorly constructed ventilation grate was responsible for the deadly accident at an outdoor pop concert in a city southeast of Seoul 10 days ago, police said Monday.

A total of 16 people plunged to their deaths during the concert in Seongnam on Oct. 17 as the grate over the ventilation shaft they were standing on to get a better view gave way under their weight. Eleven others were seriously injured.

The ventilation facility was not constructed tightly enough to withstand pressure, investigators at the Gyeonggi Provincial Police Agency in Suwon, a city just south of Seongnam, said, citing a report by the state forensic lab.

“The accident occurred when one of the two parts supporting the ventilation grate broke, and the welded part snapped,” said an investigator, adding that the bolts were poorly welded.

Investigators said they had carried out an experiment with the help of experts in the fields of construction, engineering and machinery.

“We have confirmed that overall the facility was poorly constructed,” said the officer.

Also, police said they are mulling over bringing criminal charges against up to six concert organizers and employees of the company that installed the ventilation grate.

“Those who had previously been summoned to face questioning may become suspects,” said the officer, adding that they have already been banned from leaving the country.

Some 700 people attended the concert where various South Korean musicians, including girl group 4Minute, performed, according to the host.

One Comment

  1. Kris

    October 28, 2014 at 6:48 AM

    It’s a ventilation grate. It’s above ground, between waist and chest high of the officials inspecting the thing after the tragedy. It was not meant to walk on or stand on and was clearly not part of the walking path. It was not meant for dozens of people to climb on at the same time. Why are you punishing people for another person’s error? Thirty seven people should not have climbed onto the thing. It was foolish. It would have supported a few people. But then others saw people standing on it and figured it would support even more so they got on it. It was bad decision making. The concert people didn’t tell anyone to stand there. The city didn’t deisgn or expect dozens to stand on it so it wasn’t designed and constructed to hold that weight. Why would you punish the welders? There is no way a grate of that surface area should be holding that much weight.