North Korean officials offered a rare public apology for the collapse of an apartment building under construction in Pyongyang, which a South Korean official said was believed to have caused considerable casualties that could mean hundreds might have died. The word of the collapse in the secretive nation's capital was reported this morning by the North's official Korean Central News Agency, which gave no death toll but said that the accident was "serious" and upset North Korea's leader, Kim Jong Un.
The report said it occurred in the capital's Phyongchon district on Tuesday "as the construction of an apartment house was not done properly and officials supervised and controlled it in an irresponsible manner." A South Korean government official said the 23-story apartment building that collapsed was presumed to have housed 92 families. That could mean the casualties could be in the hundreds. It is not unusual for people to start living in apartments before the construction is complete. The rescue operation ended yesterday. "This accident happened because they broke the rules and methods of construction," Pyongyang resident Pak Chol told the AP. "After this accident, we must make sure that this kind of terrible accident never happens again." KCNA reported one official as saying Kim Jong Un "sat up all night, feeling painful after being told about the accident." (Read more North Korea stories.)