12 Died at Kim Il Sung Birthday Fireworks

Jung Kwon Ho  |  2010-04-23 21:58
Shenyang, China -- 12 people are reported to have died tragically after falling from the Daedong Bridge in Pyongyang during a rush of citizens trying to leave the fireworks display being held in Kim Il Sung Square on April 15th.

The tragedy occurred at a time when a 500-meter radius around the square was crowded with people.

A source from Pyongyang explained more on Friday, “After news that the General (Kim Jong Il) would not be participating in the event started circulating immediately after the fireworks began, the crowd flocked to the bridge to go home, causing the incident to occur. The bridge is the oldest one of four bridges along the Daedong River and only has a one meter high barrier, so tens of people fell from it and 12 died.”

According to the source, the fireworks display, “My Country Where the Supreme Leader’s Desire Blossoms,” started around ten minutes later than its 8 P.M. scheduled start time in the vicinity of Kim Il Sung Square and the Juche Tower, at which point Lee Yong Cheol, the Secretary of the Kim Il Sung Socialist Youth League appeared on the podium set up in the Square to announce, “The No. 1 Event (in which Kim Jong Il would have taken part) has been cancelled. Now, fireworks and performances commemorating the Day of Sun will start.”

Thereafter, the source explained, “Since just one firework went off in the first ten minutes, the crowds started going back home saying it was boring and worse than last year’s event. In last year’s event, there were fireworks like a waterfall from the top of the Ryugyong Hotel, but this time there was no such thing.”

“Since the No. 1 Event was cancelled anyhow, going back home during the event could not be treated as a political problem,” the source added. “Therefore, people intended to leave as soon as possible.”

So, by 8:30 P.M., people were gathered on the road trying to get out of the Square, and officials from the National Security Agency and the People’s Security Ministry tried to regulate their departure. Those who wanted to avoid that regulation flocked to the Daedong Bridge, because on the other side of the bridge in Munsu Street there is the last stop of a trolleybus by which those living in Dongdaewon-, Sungyo-, and Daedonggang-districts could easily travel home.

Thereafter, the crowd tried to force itself across the bridge, causing the disaster.
 
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