It was meant to be a day for fans to see their idols perform live. In the end, some fans wouldn’t even make it to see the next day.
On October 2014, in Seongnam, Seoul, an outdoor K-Pop concert was organized to see groups like 4MINUTE and other groups perform. Over 700 fans were cramped in the Pangyo Technology Valley. Around 20-30 fans had decided to climb on top of a grate to get a better view of 4Minute’s performance. The grate was over a deep ventilation shaft and could not handle the weight of the people — it broke.
It was as if the fans had been sucked in by a hole. The fans standing on the grate fell 33 feet down to an underground parking lot. According to a local fire official, 12 people were killed at the scene while two others died while being rushed to the hospital. Two more passed away in the hospital while receiving treatment. It was reported that 11 people were also injured in the scene.
During the incident, 4MINUTE continued to perform in front of a crowd who seemed unaware of the accident that happened. They were unaware of people crowding around the ventilation grate. When news broke out, Cube Entertainment had released a statement concerning the incident,
We cannot expresses how regretful they [4MINUTE] feel for what happened. The performance wasn’t only a 4MINUTE show, but a stage shared by many artists. During their performance, none of the member nor the staff were aware of the incident and they finished their whole set. They only heard of the news when they arrived back in Seoul. We sincerely hope no one else in the audience by hurt in this accident.
— Cube Entertainment
The day after the accident, a member of the Gyeonggi Institute of Science and Technology promotion team who had helped organize the event had committed suicide, not able to face the guilt after the incident. The man had been questioned by police on the day of the incident. Police inspector Park Jeong Ju says he had jumped off a 10-floor building.
This accident spurred debate in Korea concerning safety standards. The Sewol Ferry incident had happened six months prior to the concert and with both incidents have happened so close to each other, people started saying that Korea’s safety regulations did not keep up with their rising economic development.