The incident occurred when a gymnasium at the Mauna Ocean Resort in Gyeongju, some 370 km from Seoul, caved in at around 9.15 pm local time on Monday, media quoted police and fire authorities as saying.

As many as 565 students of the Busan University of Foreign Studies (BUFS) were participating in a reception party for freshers when the gymnasium collapsed.

As of 5.50 am on Tuesday, nine students and one party organizer died and 101 students were wounded, with 17 of them under treatment for serious injuries. Three students and 11 party organizers remained unaccounted for, with those estimated to be buried under the building yet.

Over the past week, the Gyeongju city and its surrounding areas witnessed about 50 cm of snow.

About 400 rescue workers, including fire and police officials and troops from nearby Marine Corps and Army units, were dispatched to the scene. But they had difficulties in rescue operation as the building is located at the top of the mountain and snow laid thick on the ground.

Most of rescue workers had to walk several hundred meters through the slippery and narrow road to the scene.

 (Agencies)

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