About 200 people have feared dead in North Korea after underground tunnels at the Punggye-Ri nuclear test site collapsed after the test of a hydrogen bomb last month. Some 100 people are said to have been trapped by the initial tunnel collapse, with a further 100 lost in a second collapse during a rescue operation, Japan’s Asahi TV reported, citing a source in North Korea.
It said the collapse on October 10 occurred while people were doing construction on the underground tunnel. The television station also said North Korea’s sixth nuclear test on Sept. 3 most likely caused the tunnel to crumble and created serious damage in the region.
No officials have confirmed the Japanese TV station’s claims, but experts have feared for more than a month that the test site was on the verge of crumbling since the nuclear blast. North Korea said it detonated a hydrogen bomb, calling it a perfect success. It was the country’s most powerful bomb tested to date and the blast was reportedly 10 times more powerful than the nuclear bomb that was dropped on Hiroshima at the end of World War II.
The disaster has prompted fears of a massive radioactive leak. Experts have warned that the underground tests could cause the mountain to collapse and leak radiation into the atmosphere near China’s border.