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Monday, August 3, 1998 Published at 04:31 GMT 05:31 UK

World: Asia-Pacific

Helicopter crashes amid Korean flood chaos

The number of casualties is expected to rise

A helicopter has crashed in South Korea while searching for a party of university students lost in floods in the south of the country.

BBC Seoul Correspondent, Andrew Wood: "reports say it's the highest rainfall since the republic was founded, 50 years ago"
Initial reports say all five people on board were taken to hospital.

At least 35 people are believed to have been killed and more than 60 are missing after torrential rain caused flash floods in a popular camping area.

Emergency teams say the number of dead is likely to rise as they continue their searches. Around 1,600 people have already been rescued.

More than 20 cm of rain fell at around midnight local time on Friday, sweeping away many roads and bridges.

The southern provinces of Cholla and Kyongsang are the worst affected.

Popular resort

[ image: At least 70 people are said to be missing]
At least 70 people are said to be missing
Both are popular holiday spots for mountain climbing and camping.

BBC correspondent Andrew Wood in Seoul says the country's economic problems mean foreign vacations have become too expensive for many Koreans.

As a result camping holidays within South Korea are particularly popular this year.

One survivor told the Yonhap news agency he had been woken by a roaring noise and saw a torrent of water coming towards his tent.

Thousands of police and soldiers are on alert after weathermen warned of further rain.

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