Jeju Bus Crash Causes Investigated

May 16th, 2008 · Accidents, Crimes and Scandals · 8 comments

As it turns out, the driver of the bus which crashed in Jeju-do recently, killing two students and the driver, was not a bus driver but a taxi driver pressed into service for unspecified reasons.

The driver of the bus which crashed on Hallasan while carrying students on a school trip from Hyocheon High School in Suncheon was inexperienced.

The driver, a 45-year Park, normally worked as a taxi driver and only the day before — the 7th — had been hired as a replacement driver.

According to Jeju authorities and the police, Park was not the original tour bus driver and had been hired as a one-day replacement.

In the end, at appears that the accident occured because the taxi driver used the normal brake rather than the engine brake while going downhill and this caused the brake to overheat and burst.

Students who rode on the bus said that the driver, “exploded the brakes.”

Though there is a chance that the accident was due to a replacement driver, as Park has already died there seems little hope of learning the true cause of the incident.

The city government of Suncheon sent its deputy mayor and two accident officials to Jeju as well as a worker from the Jeollanam-do Office of Education to investigate the accident.

15 parents of students who were seriously injured met in Jeju to discuss what course of action to take.

They said that the number of seriously wounded students was more than they thought and that lightly wounded students were in a worse situation than they had believed.

Jeong, the teacher who had been leading the group and been unconscious since the accident, woke up.

The school has held an incense burning ceremony in its lecture hall, and plans are to bring the bodies home by airplane and students by ship.


  • A tragedy that should fall on the shoulders of the person who hired a taxi driver to drive a bus load of school kids.

    The diver should not have accepted the job, knowing he was unqualified. He has paid the price.

    About time to start making the people who make these bad decissions pay the price, so in the future other people will think twice before acting negligent.

    How many children have to die before adults learn to be responsable for them ?

    My condolences to the families of those involved.

    hitest · May 16th, 2008 at 12:14 PM

  • I once was hired by a kindergarten in the US that asked me if I could drive the bus and I said I wasn’t comfortable doing it. They were cool with that because there was no time crunch or anything, but this driver might have been pressured into doing it or something, we really don’t know what happened.

    Korea Beat · May 16th, 2008 at 12:38 PM

  • You are probably right, but if he is a taxi driver (not a teacher)it would have been his boss who pressured him, and if so, the boss should also be held accountable.

    Nobody thought to check his qualifications ?

    No amount of pressure is enough to endanger the lives of children.

    hitest · May 16th, 2008 at 1:24 PM

  • Re: “In the end, at appears that the accident occured because the taxi driver used the engine brake rather than normal brake while going downhill and this caused the brake to overheat and burst.”

    엔진브레이크가 아니라 일반 브레이크를 썼고

    My Korean is not good, but I think that translates to the other way, no ?

    He didn’t use the engine brake but rather the normal brake.

    This would also be consistent with a rookie mistake when operating a large vehicle equipped with an engine brake : he likely would not have been trained on how to use it and neither on the dangers of riding the normal brakes and burning them out.

    MigukNamja · May 16th, 2008 at 9:51 PM

  • Ah, you’re right of course. I fixed the translation. Everyone gets brain freeze, but fortunately my readers are often more knowledgeable than I.

    Korea Beat · May 16th, 2008 at 11:27 PM

  • The only reason I caught that one was because it seemed backwards from what (little) I know about safely slowing a vehicle’s descent down a long, steep slope. Even in a relatively lightweight car – whether auto-trans or manual-trans – I always try to control the bulk of the descent by engine (via downshifting) rather than the brakes.

    As a side note, I vividly remember the many “runaway truck ramps” on the long, downhill slopes of the highways passing through the U.S. Rocky Mountains. I never actually SAW a truck use or that had used one of those, but they were enough of a reminder of what could happen if things got out of hand.

    Also, your Korean is far better than mine and you do all of us Korean-language-challenged readers a big favor with this blog. Keep up the good work !


    MigukNamja · May 17th, 2008 at 9:43 AM

  • […] Jeju Bus Crash Causes Investigated […]

    SeoulPodcast » Blog Archive » Episode 9: Lao-Ocean-Girl · May 24th, 2008 at 4:56 PM

  • Where the accident occured had a particularly hard turn. There is nothing wrong with the road itself. It is a well kept road. Unlike some western countries the sealing is like that of a highway in the U.S. In wet conditions, even cars spin out. The local government should reseal the road with a more corse surface like that used in New Zealand. The surface is hell on the tires but at least the cars and buses don’t slide all over the place.

    mal · June 3rd, 2008 at 9:42 AM

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