At least 4 students killed, dozens more trapped after building collapses in Gyeongju

SEOUL (AFP) - Four college students were killed and dozens more feared trapped after an auditorium collapsed under heavy snow on Monday at a resort in the southern South Korean city of Gyeongju, rescue workers said.

As many as 450 students were believed to have been attending a concert in the building when the roof caved in around 9.15pm local time.

"So far we have four confirmed dead and 73 injured, 15 of them seriously," a spokesman for the local fire service told AFP by telephone.

Rescue workers were continuing to search for dozens more students who were feared trapped inside the collapsed structure, he said.

The collapse appeared to have been caused by heavy snow which had piled up on the roof of the auditorium.

"The ceiling came crashing down at the front near the stage," one student told the YTN news channel.

"Then pandemonium broke out and everyone started rushing towards the exits, shouting and screaming," he added.

Pictures from the Yonhap news agency showed injured students being carried away on stretchers from the largely metallic structure that appeared to have buckled in on itself.

"Heavy equipment has been brought in to clear the debris," the fire official said.

The auditorium was part of the Mauna Ocean Resort, which had been hosting a freshman orientation event for close to 1,000 students from a foreign language college in the southern city of Busan.

The resort was in an area that has experienced exceptionally heavy snowfall over the past week.

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