Heavy snow causes flight cancellations, road accidents

JEJU, South Korea– Major snowfall caused a series of road accidents and flight cancellations in southern South Korea on Sunday.
As of 6 p.m. Sunday, 109 flights connecting Jeju, Gimpo, Gwangju, Gimhae and Daegu had been canceled, including 100 at Jeju International Airport, on the southern resort island of Jeju, according to the Central Disaster and Safety Countermeasures Headquarters.

A total of 141 flights were delayed at Jeju, with the airport bustling all day long with travelers whose flights had been canceled and were looking to reschedule their flights.

The airport has been placed under wind shear and strong wind warnings after getting blanketed by heavy snowfall earlier on the weekend. Operation was back to normal at the airport from 1 p.m.

Passenger ships departing from the Port of Jeju were disrupted while all sections of the 1100 Road were closed off due to heavy snow and ice as of 6:30 p.m.

Entrance to Mount Halla, South Korea’s highest mountain and key destination for visitors to Jeju, was blocked as more than 30 centimeters of snow piled up on parts of the mountain.

As of 6 p.m., local authorities received 34 reports of damage from snow, with 14 people sent to hospital due to snow-related injuries.

Other parts of the country also dealt with road accidents and flight cancellations on Sunday.

Jeonnam Fire Services Headquarters in Muan, some 380 kilometers south of Seoul in South Jeolla Province, said it had received nine road accident reports Sunday morning alone.

A vehicle slipped on an icy road in Boseong, South Jeolla, just past 3 a.m. Sunday, sending its driver to a local hospital for minor injuries. A similar accident happened in Boseong about three hours later, authorities said.

Around 7:30 a.m. in Boseong, a bus, a truck and a passenger vehicle narrowly avoided a three-way crash.

Authorities also fielded calls for help from drivers unable to get over slippery hills across the province.

Inclement conditions also led to cancellations of multiple flights out of South Jeolla.

At Gwangju Airport, six outbound flights through 10:30 a.m. and six inbound flights through 11:40 a.m. have been canceled.

At nearby Muan International Airport, just west of Gwangju, a flight bound for Bangkok has been delayed, while four domestic inbound and outbound flights have been scrapped.

Incheon International Airport, South Korea’s main gateway located west of Seoul, reported no weather-delayed cancellations as of Sunday morning.

A total of 77 passenger ships traveling on 57 sea routes and entrance to seven national parks, including Mount Halla and Mount Naejang, were suspended.

The weather agency expected up to 15 centimeters of snow to fall in parts of Gwangju and South and North Jeolla Provinces on Monday morning, calling for high vigilance against road and traffic accidents and facility maintenance.

Gwangju authorities plan to increase the number of rush hour subways and delay work starting time for civil servants on Monday morning to prevent traffic congestion.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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