The South Korean cycling community is in mourning today after three of itts young female athletes were killed while training in the Kyeongbuk Province on Monday.
The Sang Ju City team was riding along a country road approximately 200 miles southeast of Seoul with a team car in front and the coach's van following behind when a 25-ton truck failed to slow and rammed the coach's van from behind.
According to Naver.com, the force of the impact pushed the van to the left, while the truck continued toward the right shoulder and into the line of cyclists.
The crash killed three riders: Park Eun Mi (25), Lee Min Jeong (24) and Jeong Soo Jeong (19) and seriously injured Kim Seon Young (20), Jeong Eun Song (23) and Jang Jin Ha (19). The coach Jeon Jae Hyo (51), also suffered non-life threatening injuries. The team was training for an upcoming regional race.
The driver of the truck was reportedly not under the influence of alcohol, but was watching a soap opera on his DMB (digital multimedia broadcast) device and was not paying sufficient attention to the road ahead.
"The driver said he was watching the television and only after hearing a loud noise while colliding with the van did he realize he had caused an accident. He steered left immediately and braked but it was too late. We presume he was driving at around 70 kilometers per hour," a police officer said, according to the Korea Times, .
Reports state that there were no skid marks in the first 100 meters after the impact, indicating that the driver failed to brake until after he had crashed into the van.
"It might be that Baek stepped on the accelerator by mistake instead of the brake as he was engrossed in the drama. It seems he wasn't aware of what had happened for a while after the initial crash," the officer said.
The use of DMBs while driving is illegal in South Korea, but the law is not widely enforced.
Cody Hyun Min Park contributed to this story.