Collapsing tunnels at North Korea's underground nuclear test site in Punggye-ri, North Hamgyong Province have killed up to 200 people, reports say.
Japan's Asahi TV reported on Oct. 31 that an underground shaft collapsed at the test site. Citing a source, the channel reported that around 100 people were trapped when the shaft collapsed after the North's sixth nuclear test on Sept. 3 and an additional collapse during rescue operations raised the death toll to around 200.
The collapse was reportedly caused by the severely weakened ground structure following the latest nuclear test.
U.S meteorological service AccuWeather said Friday that if there was an underground collapse at the test site, radiation could have traveled to northern Japan.
The test was estimated at 15 kilotons or 10 times the intensity of the atomic bomb that fell on Hiroshima. The Korea Meteorological Administration told a National Assembly hearing on Oct. 30 that a fissure of 60 to 100 m in diameter appears to have formed under Mt. Mantap in Punggye-ri.
The KMA said analysis of satellite photos shows an area of land three times the size of Yeouido sank up to 3 m.
The website 38 North at Johns Hopkins University said in early October that a major avalanche occurred at the 2,205 m Mt. Mantap, following the test. Chinese geologists also warned visiting North Korean geologists after the latest test that one more underground nuclear test could cause the top of the mountain to collapse and radiation to escape into the air.
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