[WATCH] 41 dead and many injured in South Korean hospital blaze

As many as 41 people have been killed in the Miryang hospital blaze, with the death toll expected to rise 

(Photo: CNN)
(Photo: CNN)

At least 41 people have been killed and more than 70 injured in a blaze at a South Korean hospital.

The fire is thought to have started in the emergency room at Sejong Hospital in the south-eastern city of Miryang.

About 200 patients were inside the building and an adjoining nursing home at the time.

A spokesman for the national fire agency said more than 70 other people had been injured, 13 of them critically.

It is South Korea's deadliest fire in almost a decade and the toll is expected to rise with several of the injured in critical condition.

A patient rescued from inside the hospital (Photo: Reuters)
A patient rescued from inside the hospital (Photo: Reuters)

Footage showed patients hanging onto a rope dangling from a helicopter above the hospital, another crawling out of a window to climb a ladder.

Firefighters told the Yonhap news agency that the victims appeared to have died from smoke inhalation. Hospital medical staff, including a doctor and a nurse, are among the victims.

"The victims came both from the hospital and the nursing home. Some died on their way to another hospital," news agency AFP quoted him as saying.

The South Korean president, Moon Jae-in, called an emergency meeting with senior aides to discuss the response to the fire, according to Yonhap.

The fire is said to have started in the emergency room (photo:BBC)
The fire is said to have started in the emergency room (photo:BBC)

“Two nurses said they had seen fire suddenly erupting in the emergency room,” said Fire chief Choi Man-woo, but the cause of the blaze was not immediately known.

“The victims came both from the hospital and the nursing home. Some died on their way to another hospital.”

The hospital building did not have any fire sprinklers installed, local media said.

Choi said the fire started around 07:30 local time (22:30 GMT on Thursday) and was put out in about three hours.

According to Yonhap news agency, senior officials from both the governing and the opposition parties travelled to Miryang to offer their condolences and call for a thorough investigation into what caused the tragedy.

"We hope that all-out efforts are made to prevent additional victims," Kim Hyun, the spokeswoman of the ruling Democratic Party, said according to Yonhap.

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