AT least 41 people have been killed and more than 70 injured after a hospital caught fire in South Korea. The blaze began at 7.30am (10.30pm GMT) on the first floor of Sejong Hospital in Miryang, a city 270km (168 miles) south-east of the capital, Seoul.
It’s believed that around 200 patients were inside the complex at the time.
Hospital medical staff – including a doctor and a nurse – are among the victims, according to the Yonhap news agency.
Fire officials have confirmed 39 victims, but local police announced at least 41 dead in recent hours.
The death toll is expected to rise with several of those injured in a critical condition.
The fire in the deadliest in South Korea in a decade, and follows a high rise fire in Jecheon City last month which killed 29.
Most of the victims of that fire were women trapped in a sauna by toxic fumes, Reuters reported at the time.
Fire chief Choi Man-woo told reporters today that the cause of the hospital blaze had not yet been determined.
“The victims came both from the hospital and the nursing home. Some died on their way to another hospital,” he said.
According to local reports, the hospital building did not have any fire sprinklers installed.
South Korean President Moon Jae-in has convened an emergency meeting to take “all necessary measures” to help survivors.
Officials are investigating the cause of the tragedy.