The Associated Press has released a video featuring the high-rising black smoke from Hyesam, a North Korean city near the Chinese border. It came during a time when there have been several reports regarding the deadly explosions in that area earlier this week.
But, North Korea or China hasn’t released any official statement about the same that happened on Monday. However, South Korean and foreign media & monitoring groups reported that it was a gas explosion that took off in a residential area. It left dozens of people dead or injured. We couldn’t independently confirm it.
In the video released by AP, we could see orange flames and black smoke going high into the sky from Hyesan city. The sound from it is heard as loud as an explosion. The same video features some people from China looking at the explosion scene.
The video was shot by Wang Bo, a travel agent who filmed it from a park in the Chinese border town of Changbai.
“I just saw explosions and there were a lot of onlookers who were looking in that direction. We don’t know the reason why there were explosions,” Wang said.
Wang had previously visited Hyesan. He said that the explosion took place near the city’s orphanage and tourism office. Only the river border separates North Korea and China. So, there are many Chinese towns on the North Korean border.
In the summer season, people can be seen swimming in the river while in Winters, people can be watched walking on the froze Yalu River.
We could verify the truth about the location after seeing videos shot by other tourists who were present in the park. Those videos show the same structures and lights. Other videos could be seen on Chinese and South Korean social media sites.
Officials from North & South Korea didn’t confirm any event
The spy agency of South Korea and the Unification Ministry couldn’t immediately confirm the reported explosions. Still, UM spokesperson Yoh Sangkey said that he felt sorry for any possible casualties.
The Seoul-based Daily NK cited unidentified sources in North Korea saying that 15 people died in the explosions, and the death toll could rise. Reportedly, the gasoline stored at a house in Hyesan ignited and led to the explosion of a nearby liquid petroleum gas cylinder. Eventually, it caused a chain of explosions of gas cylinders attached to other houses.
Other South Korean media had published similar reports. As usual, North Korean state media hasn’t reported or commented on the said explosions. It doesn’t acknowledge such deadly accidents in the country.
However, there have been some exceptions in the past. In 2017, it had reported six people dying when the roof of a mine collapsed. In 2014, it had reported government offering an apology for the collapse of an apartment building under construction in Pyongyang, the capital.