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S. Korean Subway Fire Victims' Families Demand Answers


Grieving families are demanding that the South Korean government speed up identification of their relatives killed in a massive subway fire. President-elect Roh Moo-hyun is pledging more will be done.

Angry relatives yelled at South Korean President-elect Roh Moo-hyun after he laid a wreath at a makeshift altar at the disaster site in Daegu.

The relatives want the government to speed up the process of identifying the remains of the more than 120 people who died in the fire Tuesday.

Mr. Roh, who takes office next week, promised the government would do as much as possible for the families.

Mr. Roh says he feels sorrow for those who lost their lives. He promises the government will fully investigate the accident and respond to whatever questions families have.

Police say the suspect in custody has admitted starting the fire just after the morning rush hour. The man apparently wanted to commit suicide when he ran onto a subway car and lit a flammable liquid.

The intense fire burned many victims' bodies so badly that identification is difficult. Officials say it could take weeks or longer.

Bereaved families are upset at the delay, and also are pushing the government to more quickly locate nearly 400 people listed as missing. Police say many people have been listed more than once and the final number of missing people will be much smaller.

Officials also are investigating why the subway staff allowed a second train to enter the station after the fire started. They also want to know why the doors on the second train did not open to let the passengers escape. More than half the fatalities were aboard the second train.

The government has declared Daegu, South Korea's third largest city, a disaster area and is sending emergency aid to help the city recover.

South Koreans remain stunned by the fire, which continues to dominate the news. All day Thursday, people have stopped to pray and offer flowers at the altar outside the subway station.

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