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Sunday, May 04, 2008

High wave tragedy in S. Korea

This is a picture reported in AFP as "A man looks at a giant wave breaking on the coast." But the news headline accompanied the picture is "High waves killed nine in S. Korea."

Yes, another unexpected onshore high waves tragedy, this time it's S. Korea. It can almost expected that this high wave will invariably be described as a freaque one as this U.K. Press Association headline: "Seven killed by freak wave."

This FoxNews report summarizes the details:

SEOUL, South Korea — At least eight people were killed and 14 others injured Sunday after being swept away by a sudden large wave that crashed over a breakwater on South Korea's west coast, the coast guard said.

The wave — believed to have been as high as 16 feet — slammed over the bulwark near Daecheon Beach in Boryeong City, where dozens of people had been fishing and sightseeing, said Lee Won-il, a local Coast Guard officer.

Lee said up to 15 people remained missing. He said the coast guard was struggling to estimate how many more could be missing because witnesses had given different accounts.

The dead included two children aged 9 and 5, and two of the injured were in critical condition, Lee said.

According to the FoxNews, "Witnesses described scenes of grief and panic after the wave washed over the breakwater some 120 miles south of Seoul." And

South Korea's weather agency had forecast there would be strong winds and high waves in the area but did not issue any advisory, Lee said.

The wave was believed to have been caused by regular tidal movements in the Yellow Sea, he said, adding that it had been cloudy and drizzly around 12:40 p.m. (0340 GMT) when the incident happened.

How can "regular tidal movement" in the Yellow Sea cause this kind of disastrous incident on a seemingly "regular" spring time Sunday? Should an advisory be issued?

It may be of interest to note that of the 17 or so news reports on this incident available on the Google Search page at one time, 6 of them called it "large wave", 7 called it "high wave", three called it "tidal wave", only one called it "freak wave". The count of lost life stands currently at 9, but none of the news reports called the incident a tragedy!

Update:

May be it can be anticipated, this CTV news of Canada just appeared with the headline "Rogue wave kills at least 7 in South Korea." (Emphasize added.)

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