Giant duck ‘passes out’ on Seoul lake

October 14, 2014
A giant rubber duck deflates on Seokchon Lake in Jamsil, eastern Seoul, Tuesday, the first day of its one-month run in Korea.  (Yonhap)

A giant rubber duck deflates on Seokchon Lake in Jamsil, eastern Seoul, Tuesday, the first day of its one-month run in Korea. (Yonhap)

By Lee Ji-hye

A gigantic rubber duck brought to Seoul to celebrate the opening of the Lotte World Tower partially deflated Tuesday, inviting a slew of sarcastic online comments.

Citizens spotted the 300-kg, 54-foot tall duck as it deflated on Seokchon Lake in Jamsil, eastern Seoul. The lake is adjacent to the tower, which houses a shopping mall that opened this week.

Photos of the deflated duck quickly circulated on the Internet.

Han Bo-young, a Lotte public relations manager, said the duck’s air-circulation system malfunctioned, and “instantly the duck’s air started leaking out.” She added, “We can’t inflate it all at once; it takes some time to put in the air again.”

Han said “the utmost efforts” were being made to get the duck fully inflated again.

Though harmless, the deflated duck was the latest in a series of mishaps surrounding the opening of the mega-construction project, which includes the tower as well as the Lotte World Mall.

The complex caused concern during construction when sinkholes appeared near the site. Seoul City had blamed poor construction of subway line No. 9 for the holes. The lower floors of the building opened this week, but the city says it will continue to monitor safety conditions.

Designed by Dutch artist Florentijn Hofman, the duck has traveled to cities including Amsterdam, Osaka, Sydney, Sao Paulo, Hong Kong and Pittsburgh in a bid to “heal wounds” and “relieve tension” wherever it goes.

One Twitter user posted a photo of the deflated bird with the caption, “The dying process of a rubber duck. Another netizen said, “The duck is thirsty and is leaning over to drink some water.”

A traditional medicine clinic took advantage of the situation, posting the image along with a list of supposed health benefits of eating duck meat.

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