A North Korean athlete was killed after being involved in a car accident on the Pyongyang-Wonsan Tourist Motorway on Apr. 27, Daily NK has learned. 

The athlete was a member of the April 25 Sports Club (4.25 SC), a multi-sports club in North Korea based in Pyongyang known primarily for its football teams. 

The athlete was heading to Kangwon Province for training in the mountains with other athletes on a bus when the accident occurred, a Daily NK source in North Korea reported on May 25. 

The bus reportedly hit an oncoming cargo truck that was heading out of Wonsan. The cargo truck was reportedly involved in supplying materials to the Wonsan-Kalma Coastal Tourism Zone construction project. 

Four other athletes on the bus reportedly suffered fractures to their neck and lower back and were taken to a hospital near Pyongyang for treatment. The three people traveling in the cargo truck suffered only minor bruises. 

A police investigation concluded that the cargo truck was “more at fault” for the accident and the truck’s driver was blamed for “carelessness” while driving. 

“Kangwon Province is very mountainous and the Pyongyang-Wonsan Tourist Motorway has so many curves that it’s hard to really call it a ‘freeway,’” the source told Daily NK. “The accident happened around dusk [5 PM] and was probably due to the [cargo truck] driver not paying enough attention to the road.” 

Opened in 1978, the Pyongyang-Wonsan Tourist Motorway is 190 kilometers long but is reportedly in very poor condition with many potholes. 

Daily NK’s source said that there are many road accidents on the two-lane motorway because some sections of the road in the mountains lack a median strip.

Daily NK reported back in September 2019 that five party officials died in a drunk driving accident on the Pyongyang-Kaesong Expressway.

*Translated by Gabriela Bernal

Please direct any comments or questions about this article to dailynkenglish@uni-media.net.

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Kang Mi Jin
Kang Mi Jin is a North Korean defector turned journalist who fled North Korea in 2009. She has a degree in economics and writes largely on marketization and economy-related issues for Daily NK. Questions about her articles can be directed to dailynkenglish@uni-media.net.