A huge fire tore through a South Korean hospital Friday killing at least 41 people, the government said, in the country’s worst blaze for 15 years.
More than 80 others were hurt in the fire, which comes just weeks before thousands of athletes and foreign visitors are expected in the country for the Winter Olympics.
Videos posted on social media showed a patient hanging on to a rope dangling from a helicopter above the hospital in Miryang, in the far south, and another crawling out of a window to climb down a ladder.
The six-storey structure housed a nursing home as well as the hospital.
The death toll rose rapidly throughout the morning, as those initially pulled from the blaze succumbed to their injuries.
By lunchtime, it had hit 41, according to the presidential Blue House.
“Two nurses said they had seen fire suddenly erupting in the emergency room,” said fire chief Choi Man-Woo.
All the patients had been brought out, he said, adding that evacuating 15 sick people from the intensive care unit on the third floor took longer as firefighters had to wait for medical staff to supervise the process.
All those who died were in the hospital, he said.