Taegu Gas Explosion

At about 7:30 a.m., during a busy rush hour, a large explosion rumbled beneath the streets, blasting the metal sheets high into the air.

Flames shot out from underground, some 150 feet high, throughout a 300-yard area. Cars were transformed into fireballs and one was reported to have been thrown 30 feet into the air. Some pedestrians in the area were enveloped by fire; others further away were blown to the ground. Flaming debris hit people up to half of a mile away. The final death toll was 110, with hundreds injured. Rescue efforts were impeded by broken water mains that flooded the area in the aftermath.

Rescuers worked late tonight to seek survivors of a gas explosion during the morning rush-hour that killed at least 100 people, more than 60 of them teen-agers.

The explosion, at a leaking gas main at a subway construction site, hurled cars, trucks and buses into the air. Steel plates being used as a temporary road surface were thrown through the air in a deadly hail, crushing and dismembering pedestrians.

"I heard a loud bang and flames rose about 50 yards into the air, taking with it steel plates," a taxi driver said.

A spokesman for a disaster squad in Taegu, South Korea's third-largest city, about 150 miles south of Seoul, said 103 people were dead and about 200 injured, many critically. State television and local news reports quoted police officials who put the death toll at 110.

Some 2,500 rescuers picked through debris in the hope of finding survivors.

A spokesman for a disaster squad working in Taegu, about 150 miles south of Seoul, said 101 people were dead and around 200 injured, making it one of South Korea's worst peacetime disasters. State television and local news media, quoting police, put the death toll even higher - up to 110 killed with more than 200 injured.