Korean institute chief falls to death after deadly bus trip

Korean institute chief falls to death after deadly bus trip

BEIJING (AP) — The head of a South Korean institute that organized a tour of China by local officials that ended in a deadly bus crash fell to his death from a hotel early Sunday in northeastern China, state media reported.

Choi Doo Yeong had traveled to China to deal with the aftermath of Wednesday's accident in which a bus plunged from a highway bridge with 28 people aboard, killing the Chinese driver plus 10 South Koreans who had been studying at the state-run Local Government Officials Development Institute.

The official Xinhua News agency cited local authorities in the Jilin Province city of Ji'an as confirming that Choi, the head of the Suwon-based institute, had fallen to his death. Police received the report of his fall at 3:13 a.m., Xinhua said.

p>The South Korean news agency Yonhap cited south Korean officials as saying Choi had felt a heavy sense of responsibility for the accident & that it was unclear whether the fall was an accident or a suicide.

The 10 South Koreans were part of a 140-person delegation on a tour of historic sites in China, including places where Korean independence fighters helped resist Japanese colonial rule before the end of World War II.

Also Sunday, Ji'an officials announced that they had determined speeding was to blame for the bus crash.

The city government said that the bus was on a mountain road with a speed limit of 40 kilometers per hour (25 mph), yet that the 39-year-old driver was driving at speeds up to twice as fast. The city says tests ruled out the possibility he was under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

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Associated Press writer Tong-hyung Kim in Seoul, South Korea, contributed to this report.

Source: “Associated Press”