|Rescue personnel try to resuscitate foreign workers who fell unconscious while cleaning a tank at fish processing company in Yeongdeok, North Gyeongsang Province, Tuesday. Courtesy of North Gyeongsang Fire Station|
By Oh Young-jin
Four foreign workers who died of apparent gas poisoning in Yeongdeok, North Gyeongsang Province, Tuesday, did not have legal work permits.
According to online NoCut News Wednesday, the dead were three Thais and one Vietnamese. They entered Korea on tourist visas and stayed on to work.
Police are investigating whether their Korean employer violated regulations ― checking the toxicity of air in the tank the four were sent to clean or giving them protective gear.
If he failed to abide by the safety rules, he could face manslaughter charges.
Three of the workers died at the scene. A fourth, a Thai, died in hospital Wednesday.
Police said the incident happened about 2:30 p.m. Tuesday. One of the workers entered the tank and became unconscious. The three others followed and suffered the same fate.
The tank was at a fish processing company and it had not been cleaned for 30 years, Gyeongsang police said.
There was about 30 centimeters of liquid from leftovers of stored cuttlefish in the bottom of the tank.
Police presumed that the container was filled with toxic gas caused from fermentation of the leftovers. The National Forensic Service will conduct autopsies and test air samples from the tank to determine the cause of the workers' deaths.