A tunnel at a North Korean nuclear test site collapsed this month and killed an estimated 200 people.
The cave-in at the Punggye-ri nuclear facility initially trapped 100 people underground on Oct. 10. Another 100 were killed during an unsuccessful rescue operation when an additional section of the tunnel fell, according to Japanese TV station Asahi. According to reports emerging from the Hermit Kingdom, the accident happened on Oct. 10. The test site was shaken and crumbled by the fallout of the isolated country’s sixth nuclear test.
No officials have confirmed the Japanese TV station’s reports, but experts have long feared that the test site was on the verge of crumbling since the nuclear blast.
North Korea said it detonated a hydrogen bomb, calling it a “perfect success.” It was the country’s most potent bomb tested to date. This Bomb is roughly seven times more powerful than the atomic bomb the U.S. dropped on Hiroshima in 1945.
The test triggered a 6.3-magnitude earthquake, and many tremors have been detected from the area since then. Satellite images obtained by 38 North, showed several landslides occurred after the Sept. 3 test. Also a possible “collapse chimney crater” was seen on Mount Mantap, possibly caused by the underground tests.
According to many experts, the building of new underground tunnels would indicate a willingness to move the test site to another part of the mountain, as the facility is unlikely to be abandoned.
South Korean and Chinese scientists worry that a collapse at the mountain could trigger a radiation leak. Chief Nam Jae-Cheol, South Korea’s weather agency, told a group of lawmakers that any future nuclear test at the site could cause a collapse, the Associated Press reported.
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