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Firefighter Helicopter Crashes in a Residential Area in Korea

July 20, 2014

Helicopter Crashes in a Residential Area in Korea South Korea Helicopter Crash Kills 5

A firefighting helicopter crashed Thursday in a residential area in the South Korean town of Gwangju, killing all five people on board. Officials say a teenage girl also suffered minor injuries after being hit by a fragment of the helicopter, which crashed near a school.

The helicopter was returning to base after taking part in the search for the 11 people still missing from South Korea’s April ferry disaster. About 300 people, mostly high school students, were killed when the Sewol ferry sunk off the southwest coast of South Korea.

Including the helicopter deaths, seven people have been killed in the rescue operation. Two divers previously drowned while searching the ship. There has been no word on what led to the helicopter crash. A firefighting helicopter crashed Thursday in a residential area in the South Korean town of Gwangju, killing all five people on board. Officials say a teenage girl also suffered minor injuries after being hit by a fragment of the helicopter, which crashed near a school. The helicopter was returning to base after taking part in the search for the 11 people still missing from South Korea’s April ferry disaster.

Including the helicopter deaths, seven people have been killed in the rescue operation. Two divers previously drowned while searching the ship. A firefighting helicopter has crashed in a residential area in South Korea, killing all five people on board. The chopper was conducting a search operation for missing victims of the April 16 Sewol ferry disaster , when it crashed in a residential district of the southern city of Gwangju, officials said on Thursday.

It crashed near an apartment complex and an elementary school shortly before 11:00 am local time, leaving one high-school student standing at a nearby bus stop injured. Dramatic footage taken by a vehicle camcorder showed the free-falling helicopter plunging nose-first into the ground, and exploding in a fireball on impact. “Five people were on board and all are presumed dead,” local fire chief Moon Ki-shik told reporters at the scene.

The cause of the crash was not immediately known. The chopper was reportedly on its way back to headquarters after helping in the search for people still missing after the Sewol ferry disaster.

Sewol capsized off South Korea’s southern coast on April 16 while carrying 475 people, out of which 325 were high school students. The sunken ferry left more than 290 people dead. Three months later, divers and rescue teams are still searching for the bodies of a dozen victims that remain unaccounted for. The ferry’s captain, Lee Joon-seok, and three of his crew members, who survived the incident, face murder charges while other crew members have been indicted on charges of abandonment.

The South Korean government has faced widespread disapproval for its handling of the disaster and the rescue effort.