South Korea landslides kill three New Zealand citizens

SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA (AP) — Three New Zealand citizens have died after landslides triggered by heavy rains destroyed and buried their vacation cottage near Seoul, South Korean officials said yesterday.

They were among 14 people in South Korea who died in landslides and floods caused by days of torrential rains that began on Saturday, the Ministry of the Interior and Safety said.

A ministry official identified the three New Zealand citizens as a 77-year-old woman surnamed Kim, her 36-year-old daughter surnamed Song and Song’s two-year-old son.

The official said they were found dead on Monday at their vacation cottage in Gapyeong, just northeast of Seoul. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he wasn’t authorised to speak to the media on the matter. Gapyeong police confirmed the deaths of the three New Zealanders. A local police officer said the 77-year-old woman ran a complex of vacation cottages in Gapyeong and had been living there.

Her daughter, who had worked in New Zealand, recently came to the cottage complex with her baby son to help with her work, the officer said. The rainfall pounded much of South Korea, leaving 12 other people missing and more than 1,000 homeless. All 14 deaths and most of the property damage were reported in Seoul, nearby towns and the central province of Chungcheong.

Rescue workers evacuate residents on a rubber boat to a safer place in Cheonan, South Korea. PHOTO: AP