S. Korean child left in bus dies from heat

SEOUL • A four-year-old girl was found dead in a minibus on Tuesday afternoon after being left inside alone for nearly seven hours in scorching heat, in Dongducheon, a city in South Korea’s Gyeonggi province.

On the same day, a man in his 80s was found dead at a farm in Namwon, South Jeolla province.

The two deaths, attributed to the unbearable heat in South Korea, brought the heat-related death toll in the country to six this year.

The girl was reported to have boarded the vehicle, owned and operated by the daycare centre she attended, on Tuesday morning, along with eight other children.

The vehicle arrived at the centre at about 9.40am, but she remained in the vehicle by herself after the eight other children left the vehicle.

Staff at the daycare centre realised that the girl was absent only some seven hours later.

Not knowing that she had remained alone in the minibus, the staff called the child’s mother to ask why her daughter did not show up that day.

When the mother told them her daughter had left for the centre in the morning, the authorities began to search and found the girl’s body in the vehicle at about 5pm. Police are investigating the incident.

From January to July 16, a total of 633 Koreans have been treated for heat-related illnesses, such as heatstroke, and six deaths have been attributed to heat.

The health authorities have confirmed that 83.3 per cent of the victims were in their 70s and 80s.

The sweltering heat was forecast to continue nationwide yesterday as temperatures hovered between 31 deg C and 37 deg C. Heatwave warnings by the Korea Meteorological Administration remain in effect throughout the country. The agency added that the hot weather will continue for at least a week.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 20, 2018, with the headline 'S. Korean child left in bus dies from heat'. Print Edition | Subscribe