|People look at condolence messages for the victims of the Itaewon crowd crush at an entrance of Itaewon Station in central Seoul, Nov. 9. Yonhap|
A Seoul Metro official has been under investigation for allegedly disregarding an order from above for subway trains to pass through Itaewon Station on subway Line 6 without stopping on the night of the fatal Halloween crowd crush in late October, police said Monday.
The official surnamed Lee, who heads a Seoul Metro branch office overseeing Itaewon Station, has been booked on charges of accidental homicide, according to a special police unit investigating the Itaewon disaster.
Lee is accused of failing to carry out an order from his superiors that bypassing Itaewon Station be considered on the night of Oct. 29 to help disperse the Halloween crowd, the police unit said.
The unit suspects Lee ignored the bypassing order even though over 43,000 people poured out of Itaewon Station in the four hours immediately before the crowd crush, providing a cause for the disaster that claimed 158 lives.
It also speculates most passengers who disembarked at Itaewon Station that night exited through Gates 1 and 2, which were directly connected to the narrow alleyway where the disaster occurred, further adding to its density.
Lee was on duty at Itaewon Station on the night of the crowd crush to monitor for crowds but did not take any action, police added.
Separately, the head of Itaewon Station, surnamed Song, was earlier booked on charges of accidental homicide, police said. (Yonhap)