Seoul Subway Crash, Passengers Ignore Safety Announcement

On May 2nd, two subway trains in Seoul collided, injuring 238 passengers. The accident occured amid the ongoing daily headlines about details of the Sewol sinking, and has added to criticism of safety planning in South Korea. Immediately after the collision, some passengers disregarded an announcement asking them to remain in the subway for safety reasons, an announcement very similar to that issued to students on the Sewol. Many commenters attributed the passengers’ decision to suspicion of such announcements after they were blamed for needless deaths on the Sewol.

Some voices online also questioned the contrast between the swift investigation of the subway crash and the slower response to the Sewol, seeing an intent to discredit Seoul Mayor Park Won-soon, a prominent critic of the ruling conservative party.

Article from News1:

Rear End Collision in Seoul Subway, 238 injured

– Three seriously injured: broken collar bones, cerebral hemorrhage. Automatic safety features didn’t activate.

A Seoul Metropolitan Subway collision on May 2nd has resulted in 238 reported injuries so far. The accident took place on the system’s Line 2 at Sangwangsimni Station.

The collision occurred while train 2258 was stopped at the platform. Although the conductor of train 2260 deployed the emergency brake, there was not enough time to stop completely. Passengers of train 2260 evacuated, disregarding an announcement asking them to remain in place.

The collision occurred while train 2258 was stopped at the platform. Although the conductor of train 2260 deployed the emergency brake, there was not enough time to stop completely. Passengers of train 2260 evacuated, disregarding an announcement asking them to remain in place.

At a briefing conducted by Seoul Fire and Metro authorities at the station in Seong Dong-Gs, we learned that the driver of the first car, Mr. Han, and the driver of the second car, Mr. Eom, were among the injured.

And it is being reported that there were two foreigners injured as well.

The injured were sent to 13 different hospitals including Konkuk, Korea, Hanyang, and Suncheonhyang University hospitals to receive treatment.

162 of the injured have been released after being treated for minor injuries. 76 are still being treated for their more serious injuries from the crash as of 8:50 pm.

Among the more seriously injured are Mr. Eom, the driver of the second train, an 80-year-old passenger surnamed Lee, and an unnamed male 50-year-old passenger. Lee is undergoing surgery for a broken collarbone and bone fractures at Seoul Central Hospital.

Mr. Eom suffered the same injuries but he has not yet undergone surgery. The remaining 50-year-old passenger suffered a cerebral hemorrhage from the collision and is currently being treated for his symptoms at Konkuk University Hospital.

Four conductors were involved in the collision, two for each car. But it has been confirmed that only Mr. Han and Mr. Eom were admitted to hospital.

According to Seoul Metro, warning announcements were not heard inside the trains at the time of the accident. But the doors of the train at the front of the collision opened and passengers heard the announcement to vacate the trains.

In the train behind the first train, another train on the other side of the track forced the announcement to be made 4 minutes after the collision. At 3:34pm, an announcement to ‘wait’ was broadcast to the passengers.

After the opposite train was under control, passengers were instructed to leave the second train.

According to Seoul Metro, the announcement to vacate was made at 3:35 pm for 37 minutes. Passengers were instructed to leave towards the opposite passenger area. It was also learned that the conveying of the message was made difficult due to injured crew members having to be treated at hospitals.

‘Crewmembers, frozen in shock from the accident, shortly thereafter regained their senses and ordered riders to evacuate. In locations where there was a column between the tracks where the doors open, riders could get hurt, so only doors without a column blocking them were opened for evacuation’ he added.

At 4:00 p.m. Seoul Metro and the fire department checked for any remaining passengers in the tunnel where the crash had occurred. At 4:04 the outer circle line going in the opposite direction resumed operation.

Regarding the cause of this accident, a Seoul Metro representative said, ‘we are currently investigating for any mechanical or human error…we are looking at whether there was a problem with the stop signal or the speed of the train, as well as with the train conductor.’


Thank goodness no one died.


I will remember this year as the worst year for sure..


Didn’t an article a little while ago say there were no serious injuries, just light injuries? Was this the reporter taking some license? What are the police doing letting the reporters spread such lies… They did it with the Sewol and now they do it again here.


Again, the number [of casualties] keeps increasing [as more reports come out].


Why does the number keep increasing and making people worried;;


What is happening to the country.. How many times has it been this year.. Starting with the Gyeongju resort..


And yet no one believes us when we talk about nuclear power plant risks.. Nobody knows when our reactors will blow. They’re the biggest problem but nobody thinks it would happen.. they’re really in a serious state. And if a reactor blows the damage would be unimaginable. I’m talking about something that makes the Sewol look like nothing at all. What can we do about the nuclear reactors.


There’s just nothing left to say about our country.


When I read about accidents, it seems like the news pays the most attention to accidents that have high numbers of injuries. So the more who are injured, the more you are interested? Is that true for all of you as well?


I always thought Line 2 was too rundown. After this accident, they better make a complete renovation.

Article from SBS:

Two Alert Systems Used on the Same Line led to Many Errors

The two warning systems at the center of the recent accident are only in use on lines one and two, not on lines three to nine.

Line one uses a system that is forty years old, according to which the train conductor has to visually observe whether the light is red or green and then manually drive the train.

So then what about line two?

Since 2006, line two has been using both the old system and a new system. The new system does not require the conductor to manually observe the warning lights and make a decision.

According to a Seoul Metro representative, ‘Both the old ATS system and the new ATO system are in use on the same line. Each system has its own way of signaling problems, so we are considering whether this difference may have led to this accident.’


The clash between the two completely different systems has led to many errors in the past.

The age of the subway cars in use was also an issue.

The braking distance required by new cars is also far shorter than that required by cars which are twenty years old, meaning that a new car could have stopped in time to avoid this collision.

The collision occurred in a section of the tunnel where the track curved away around a corner. While a straight section of track allows a train conductor 600 meters to observe the train ahead and make any necessary maneuvers, the section where the collision occurred only allowed 120 meters of visibility.

Experts believe that these multiple factors combined to cause this recent collision.

Comments from Daum:


Something smells fishy about this issue. It seems like something aimed at Park Won-soon [Well-known progressive Mayor of Seoul]


I will crush them if this is their ploy to divert attention from the Sewol and the prosecutor’s office scandals.


The government owns 80% of Yonhap News, supporting them with 34 billion won in a single year. Yonhap is so powerful that the National Assembly did a closed-door audit on them. Under Lee Myung-bak, News Y started broadcasting. The real problem is how Yonhap, which can’t help but get tugged on the government leash, can plaster all of the internet with their news stories. The people continue to suffer as critical debate and a healthy society grow harder to achieve. Spread the word about this..


They immediately raided the office of Seoul Metro… Other times the prosecutor’s office calls ahead and tells the office, “We’re coming by tomorrow”… ke ke ke and other times they give people two weeks’ notice.. ke ke ke


Park Geun-hye has to resign before we see the end of these problems.


They moved pretty damn fast with their investigation. Perhaps it was on Her Majesty’s orders?????


That’s a pretty fast investigation, and when do you think they will get around to investigating Undine Marine Industries, the Coast Guard and the Navy??


Moving to investigate that fast.. looks like they’re rushing to get Park Won-soon!

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  • mr.wiener

    Good thing no one was killed. Buggered if I’d be waiting around after a crash like this. I wouldn’t be elbowing grannies in the face and screaming like a little girl, but i wouldn’t be dawdling either.

    • I don’t see why you would pass up a perfectly good opportunity to elbow grannies in the face. What a waste.

      • tomoe723

        Somebody must have elbowed your granny in the past, coz you ended growing up like a retard today.

        • I don’t think that’s how it works…

          Might want to retake your high school sex ed class.

  • Korean women should not be allowed to drive boats, trains or cars

    • wrle

      The train was driven by a man and the collision was due to equipment failure.

      • chucky3176

        The ferry was driven by a woman, but it probably wasn’t her fault, As it turned out. it was the overloaded ship.

        The subway was driven by a man, but it wasn’t his fault, it was the switching system that gone wrong.

        One accident was due to neglect and caused a lot of deaths, the other was due to equipment failure, and most had scrapes and scratches except for few people who had broken bones.

        • kokorea

          Yeah that’s right, just blame it on something else, its never a korean’s fault!

          • Chucky3176

            I said it “was due to neglect” and I would also add greed. Where did I say it wasn’t Koreans’ fault?
            You can’t read?

          • bojio

            It’s Japan’s fault. They don’t know history! They should scrap the rising sun flag! It reminds Korea of the colonial period! Actually They should scrap the national flag too! And the name “Japan”! And the Japanese language! They all remind Korea of the colonial period!! Uri Nara Mansae!!

          • Japanese Racist

            You forgot one more thing, kokorea/bojio, they should also scrap stupid Japanese people like you for making crass gloating comments (like your’s) at this time when a lot of people are grieving and are sad over an accident that needlessly happened. Now go somewhere else, and yell your [email protected]!!

          • BOJIO….good job ol chap!

          • Boj

            how does his dick taste.

          • wrle

            No one said it wasn’t the korean’s fault.

      • Chucky3176

        Yeah, I’ve seen that long time ago. That woman is total stupid idiot who should not be driving. The man has to get into his to unpin the poor girl because the retard was too busy screaming her head off.

        • Mighty曹

          Looks like the stupid bitch never even got out of the driver’s seat. The screaming head appears to be a passerby yelling at the retard behind the wheel.
          *It’s sad but I found it funny to see the man coolly struts to the rear of his SUV to see ‘what’s up?’ then dashes back in to move it. (Because the stupid retard who hit the girl was too incompetent to shift into ‘Reverse’).

      • nk

        A common occurrence in korea

    • mei mei

      you’re so weird and i think i like you

  • Guest

    Screw the announcement, and it’s not just Sewol, as soon as there is something wrong with the train, I will get the hell out – BEFORE the conductor leave us locked in while the train burns!

    Remember the 2003 Daegu subway fire? The conductor pulled the keys out before he flee ahead of the passengers – the doors without electricity, became lock. Everyone inside burned so much there was no flesh left. If I broke my neck in the tracks, at least my family can still have an open coffin funeral.

    • Flamel Nicolas


  • Boris

    Crash happens, see if anyone needs help and get yourself and those you can help out. Easier said than done, I know.

  • Guest

    This is what happens when the trust between citizens and government is broken.

  • Pingback: South Korea: Subway Crash, in the Wake of Ferry Disaster · Global Voices()

  • Pingback: South Korea: Subway Crash, in the Wake of Ferry Disaster · Global Voices()

  • commander

    A series of safety incidents highlight one of the grave consequences of much-vaunted Korea’s rapid economic growth from a war-devastated 1950s to date–a mentality seeing results override and justify wrongful process and procedures diminishing ground for fair competition and credible governance in a country.

    In short, governability is thrown into question, and the public is afflicted by collective trauma.

  • Mighty曹

    What’s going on with transportations lately?

    • YourSupremeCommander

      Train crash, ship sank, plane missing… i am walking!

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