North Korea offers rare apology after building collapse leaves many casualties

North Korea offers rare apology after building collapse leaves many casualties

Credit: AP Photo/KRT via APTN

North Korea offers rare apology after building collapse leaves many casualties

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Associated Press

Posted on May 18, 2014 at 10:09 AM

Updated Sunday, May 18 at 2:28 PM

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — Officials in North Korea are offering a rare public apology after the collapse of an apartment building that was under construction in the country's capital.

The country's official news agency didn't give a death toll -- but a South Korean official says hundreds may have died.

The North Korean news agency said the accident was "serious" and that it upset North Korea's leader, Kim Jong Un.

It says the collapse occurred Tuesday -- and that it happened because the construction "was not done properly" and was supervised in an "irresponsible manner."

A South Korean government official says the 23-story apartment building that collapsed was presumed to have housed 92 families. That could mean the casualties could be in the hundreds -- but it's not clear whether all of the residents were inside at the time of the collapse.

It's not unusual for people to start living in apartments in North Korea before the construction is complete.

The North Korean news report says the rescue operation ended yesterday, and officials apologized to bereaved families.

On the streets of the North Korean capital today, residents are expressing outrage. One resident told the Associated Press that the people in charge of the construction project "broke the rules and methods of construction."

%@AP Links

079-c-19-(Rafael Wober (RAH'-fy-ehl WOH'-bur), AP correspondent)-"from the population"-AP correspondent Rafael Wober reports the rare admission of such an accident suggests the continuation of a slow-moving thaw of state media providing more news to the population. (18 May 2014)

<<CUT *079 (05/18/14)££ 00:19 "from the population"

078-c-15-(Rafael Wober (RAH'-fy-ehl WOH'-bur), AP correspondent)-"it is new"-AP correspondent Rafael Wober reports North Korean officials have offered a rare public apology for the collapse of an apartment building under construction in Pyongyang. (18 May 2014)

<<CUT *078 (05/18/14)££ 00:15 "it is new"

APPHOTO TOK804: In this Saturday, May 17, 2014 photo, a North Korean official apologizes in front of families of victims of an accident at an apartment construction site and local residents in Pyongyang, North Korea. North Korean officials offered a rare public apology for the collapse of the apartment building under construction in Pyongyang, which a South Korean official said was believed to have caused considerable casualties that could mean hundreds might have died. (AP Photo/Kyodo News) JAPAN OUT, MANDATORY CREDIT (18 May 2014)

<<APPHOTO TOK804 (05/18/14)££

APPHOTO TOK803: In this Saturday, May 17, 2014 photo, a North Korean official, right, apologizes in front of families of victims of an accident at an apartment construction site and local residents in Pyongyang, North Korea. North Korean officials offered a rare public apology for the collapse of the apartment building under construction in Pyongyang, which a South Korean official said was believed to have caused considerable casualties that could mean hundreds might have died. (AP Photo/Kyodo News) JAPAN OUT, MANDATORY CREDIT (18 May 2014)

<<APPHOTO TOK803 (05/18/14)££

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