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(LEAD) 2 more dead in expressway pileup

All Headlines 16:40 February 18, 2020

(ATTN: UPDATES lead, headline, details with new fatality)

NAMWON, South Korea, Feb. 18 (Yonhap) -- The number of fatalities in a multiple-vehicle collision on an expressway that occurred in the country's southwestern region has increased by two, bringing the total number of deaths to five, rescue officials said Tuesday.

Rescue officials said they found one victim at around 1:10 a.m. in one of the cars near a tank truck that was carrying nitric acid in a tunnel on a highway connecting Suncheon and Wanju in North Jeolla Province.

They found another victim under a collapsed vehicle while carrying out a further search at 2:16 p.m. The identity of the victim has not yet been confirmed.

The accident occurred Monday afternoon when the tank truck reportedly ran into a small pile of cars involved in an earlier accident inside the tunnel.

Around a dozen other vehicles ran into the truck, which had spilled its load and caught fire, according to police and rescue officials.

In addition to the five who died from the fatal pileup, 43 were known to be injured as of 3 p.m.

The exact cause of the accident has yet to be identified, but the officials note the truck and the other cars may have skidded on snow or ice patches on the road as the entire nation was under a snow warning or alert.

Debris from damaged vehicles are piled up in a tunnel on a highway connecting the cities of Suncheon and Wanju in North Jeolla Province on Feb. 17, 2020. (Yonhap)


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