At least 20 people died after a fire broke out at a lithium battery manufacturing factory near South Korea’s capital on Monday, according to Yonhap news agency.
The tragic incident occurred at around 10:30 am (7 am IST) at the factory located in Hwaseong, just south of Seoul. Local firefighter Kim Jin-young confirmed that rescue efforts are currently underway.
Kim said that the firefighters had managed to put out the largest fire at the site and were pulling bodies out of the charred building.
During a televised briefing, Kim earlier said that 23 people were reported missing but identifying them was proven difficult as the staff register was believed to have been destroyed in the blaze.
Among the missing were foreign nationals, including Chinese citizens. Efforts to locate the people revealed that their mobile phone signals were traced to the second floor of the factory.
South Korean media reported that around 67 employees were working at the facility when the fire erupted. The cause of the fire is still under investigation, and authorities are working to account for all individuals and ensure the safety of those affected.