South Korean police said Wednesday that they have started investigation into the collapse of a resort building in a southeastern city of the country under the weight of heavy snow, which killed at least 10 people and injured 105 others, local media reported.
A gymnasium at the Mauna Ocean Resort in Gyeongju, some 370 km southeast of Seoul, caved in at around 9:15 p.m. local time Monday, when 565 students of the Busan University of Foreign Studies (BUFS) were participating in a reception party for freshmen.
A group of police, forensic experts and structural engineers have kicked off structural assessments of the building to find out the reason of the collapse, officers said.
"Once we identify the cause of the collapse, we will be able to draw up an investigation plan and decide whether to bring charges against those liable for the accident," Yonhap news agency quoted a local police officer as saying.
Police said they will question some 30 officials from Kolon Group, the owner of the resort, as well as faculty members of the university and students on the spots.
Local media speculated that the collapsed gymnasium, a pre- engineered building assembled with rigid frames and side walls, had some structural flaws.
It is also reported that families of the victims and Kolon Group have reached a compensation agreement, but the amount of the out-of-court settlement remains unknown.
The accident also drove the local government to start a safety inspection into 62 public facilities, especially those built with vulnerable frames and side walls, in the country's eastern part of Gangwon Province, which has been hit by heavy snow in past weeks.