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(LEAD) S. Korean official handling bus crash in China found dead

All Headlines 11:46 July 05, 2015

(ATTN: ADDS more info in paras 5-7)

SEOUL, July 5 (Yonhap) -- A senior South Korean public servant was found dead Sunday in the Chinese city of Jian where he had been handling the aftermath of a recent bus crash that killed 10 Korean government officials, officials here said.

A bus carrying 26 South Korean public servants and two Chinese people plunged off a bridge in the Chinese city Wednesday, killing 11 people, including the Chinese driver. The South Korean victims were among a group of 148 government officials who were on a training trip to China, organized by the Local Government Officials' Development Institute.

Choi Doo-yeong, president of the state-run institute, was found on the ground outside a hotel by a security guard in the Chinese city early Sunday, according to the home affairs ministry.

Chinese authorities are investigating the cause of his death.

Police found a piece of paper marked with a ballpoint pen on a table in his hotel room, but there was no message on it, according to a government official. A suicide note was also not been found.

"Choi might have tried to write something as he was known to have felt a heavy responsibility for the tragic accident as the head of the institute," he said.

Another ministry official said, "It has not been confirmed whether Choi jumped from the hotel to his death or lost his footing and fell."

Choi left for China on Thursday with the vice minister of home affairs to handle the aftermath of the bus accident.

The government said that the victims' bodies are expected to be moved to South Korea as early as Monday.


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