CBS Local — North Korea’s nuclear weapons tests have reportedly claimed the lives of over 200 workers after a tunnel collapse at one of the rogue nation’s test sites.
According to a report from Japanese broadcaster TV Asahi, an unfinished tunnel in North Korea’s Punggye-ri testing site collapsed in mid-September. The deadly accident trapped around 100 people in the mountain cave. A second collapse reportedly started as workers tried to free any survivors, killing as many as 100 more North Koreans. The chain of destruction occurred just a week after the country allegedly detonated a hydrogen bomb at the Punggye-ri site on Sept. 3.
Chinese scientists reportedly warned the North Korean government shortly after their sixth nuclear weapons test that the explosions had weakened the Mantapsan mountain area. They added that future nuclear testing could destroy the mountain and spread radioactive waste across the area, which is only 50 miles from the Chinese border.
“What we are seeing from North Korea looks like some kind of stress in the ground… There were stresses in the ground, but the explosions have shaken them up,” Columbia University seismologist Paul G. Richards told the Washington Post. “We call it ‘taking the roof off.’ If the mountain collapses and the hole is exposed, it will let out many bad things,” Chinese researcher Wang Naiyan added.
The nation’s leader Kim Jong Un has repeatedly threatened the United States, South Korea, and Japan with the possibility of an all-out war as North Korea continues to test fire long range ballistic missiles. President Trump retaliated in his first speech to the United Nations by declaring the U.S. would “totally destroy” North Korea if it attacks America. Mr. Trump will reportedly skip visiting the Demilitarized Zone, the border between North and South Korea, during a 12-day trip to Asia starting Nov. 3.