SEOUL, South Korea — A thunderous explosion ripped apart a 40,000-gallon fuel tank Saturday at the U.S. Air Force base at Osan, killing 15 people and setting off a huge fire that raged for hours, the U.S. military said.
Twelve people were reported injured. A U.S. military official in Seoul said today that all of the victims were believed to be Koreans.
"Something went off suddenly with a big bang," a South Korean woman working in the area said.
Lt. Col. Larry Greer, an Air Force spokesman in Washington, said the explosion occurred in a fuel storage area.
No Sign of Foul Play
"We've got no evidence to believe foul play was involved. It occurred as they were filling a . . . fuel tank with jet fuel as part of the normal operations there. That's where the explosion and fire occurred. There were a number of Korean contractors around the storage tank doing some work on the area very close to the tank. That accounted for the rather high number of injuries and fatalities," Greer said.
Billy Fullerton, the U.S. military spokesman in Seoul, said there was no immediate indication that the cause was other than accidental, and no sabotage or terrorism was suspected.