The ceiling of a third-floor underwear shop at The Hyundai Seoul department store collapses in Yeouido, Seoul, on Nov. 29 to injure three people. Twitter Capture

Accident reminds people of Sampoong disaster

The ceiling of the largest department store in Seoul collapsed on Nov. 29 to injure three, reminding citizens of the deadly catastrophe a quarter-century earlier here.

The ceiling above an underwear shop on the third floor of The Hyundai Seoul department store in Yeouido, central Seoul, collapsed so that firefighters were called.

The accident took place less than a year after the shopping center, which is owned by Hyundai Department Store Group, opened this February.

As a result, the metal framework above was exposed and harmed three, with two suffering only light injuries. Hyundai officials said that they would comprehensively check the safety of the newly built shopping mall.

But the mishap conjured up the tragedy of Sampoong Department Store in 1995, which killed more than 500 people and injured almost 1,000.

Back then, the store collapsed in southern Seoul to become the biggest peacetime disaster in South Korean history and one of the deadliest modern building incidents in the world.

The Hyundai Seoul, which is sized almost 500,000 square feet, has attracted visitors since its launch thanks to its unique island-like structure with a garden rooftop.

Hyundai Department Store Group was split off from the Hyundai Group in the late 1990s. The group is currently headed by Chairman Chung Ji-sun, the cousin of Hyundai Motor Chairman Chung Eui-sun.