As many as 200 people have died in North Korea after a mine shaft getting dug at a nuclear test site there collapsed, according to The Telegraph.
The Telegraph on Tuesday reported that sources in North Korea told Japan’s Asahi TV that a tunnel being excavated by about 100 workers collapsed earlier this month.
An additional 100 laborers sent to rescue their colleagues at the Punggye-ri test site were then killed following a second collapse there.
An exact date for the incident has not been issued, but it follows shortly after North Korea’s sixth – and most powerful – underground nuclear test at Punggye-ri.
North Korea claimed the September 3 test beneath Mount Mantap was a hydrogen bomb, and monitors noted the detonation equaled a 6.1 magnitude earthquake on the Richter scale.
Satellite images of Punggye-ri taken immediately after the test showed major damage to surface features, including landslips.
The head of South Korea’s Meteorological Administration on Monday warned that further tests at Punggye-ri may cause the mountain there to collapse.
Nam Jae-chol added in testimony before South Korea’s parliament that such a collapse could cause radioactivity to leak into the environment.
“Based on our analysis of satellite imagery, we judge that there is a hollow space, which measures about 60 meters by 100 meters beneath Mount Mantap,” he said. “Should another nuclear test take place, there is a possibility [of a collapse].”
Chinese scientists have issued similar warnings, suggesting that nuclear fallout could disseminate across “an entire hemisphere” if the mountain collapses.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and President Trump have repeatedly traded barbs this year over the former’s pursuit of nuclear weapons.
Trump threatened to “totally destroy North Korea” if it continues menacing the U.S. and its allies during his first address to the United Nations General Assembly last month.
North Korea has conducted multiple missile and nuclear tests in 2017 aimed at demonstrating its ability to gain a nuclear missile capable of hitting the U.S.