Typhoon Hinnamnor: Seven drown in underground South Korean city car park trying to retrieve vehicles

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Seven people were killed in a submerged parking lot in South Korea’s Pohang city in the wake of Typhoon Hinnamnor barreling through the country.

Hinnamnor, the strongest global cyclonic storm to hit South Korea this year, has caused widespread damage to roads and homes but spared the country from more extensive destruction.

Authorities on Wednesday said nine people who had been trapped in an underground car park at an apartment complex in Pohang city have been pulled out.

Workers said that of the nine, seven suffered from cardiac arrest and were pronounced dead, while two survivors were rescued from the parking lot.

The two survivors, identified as a 39-year-old man and a 52-year-old woman, were rescued early on Wednesday morning and are relatively healthy, reported Yonhap News Agency.

Rescue workers said they are continuing to search for any remaining victims but it is unlikely for more survivors to be found.

Pohang, where the apartment complex is located, has been hit the hardest as the storm passed through the southern part of the country.

On Wednesday, President Yoon Suk-yeol said he had a “sleepless night” as he watched the news of people trapped in the parking lot in Pohang.

Rescue workers search for survivors (Kim Hee-Chul/EPA)
Rescue workers search for survivors (Kim Hee-Chul/EPA)

Mr Yoon said he will designate Pohang as a special disaster zone as early as possible and travel to the area later in the day to assess the damage.

The typhoon made landfall in South Korea as one of the nation’s strongest storms on record on Tuesday and weakened to 115kmph, unleashing fierce rains and winds that destroyed trees and roads.

A building is swept away at a village in Pohang (AP)
A building is swept away at a village in Pohang (AP)

Other industrial cities in the country’s southeast, including Gyeongju and Ulsan, also suffered severe damage before Hinnamnor left the Korean peninsula and moved to Japan.

According to the Central Disaster and Safety Countermeasures Headquarters, a total of 10 people have been killed, three injured and two others are missing in the aftermath of the storm.

Hinnamnor has been described as a “historically strong typhoon that we never experienced before” by the South Korean prime minister, Han Duk-soo, who also called for proactive efforts to evacuate residents in areas vulnerable to flooding.

Government officials had issued a high alert for days as Hinnamnor approached, warning of potentially historic destruction and putting in motion life-saving measures.