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17 Feb, 2022 06:44

Presidential candidate halts campaign after staffers die inside election bus

Police suspect a campaign chief and a driver have died from carbon monoxide poisoning
Presidential candidate halts campaign after staffers die inside election bus

Ahn Cheol-soo, the founder of the minor People Party, has suspended all activities in the South Korean presidential race after two of his staffers have died inside a campaign bus.

Three people were discovered unconscious inside the bus in Cheonan, roughly 90 kilometers (56 miles) south of Seoul on Tuesday, South Korean media said. A local campaign chief and a driver were later pronounced dead.

A driver of another Ahn campaign bus was similarly found unconscious in the eastern city of Wonju on Tuesday and has been hospitalized in critical condition.

Police suspect the victims have been poisoned by carbon monoxide emitted by a generator powering an LED screen.

“There is an LED electronic signboard outside of the election campaign bus to show promotional videos. We were told to open windows while using the sign board because the generator can cause carbon monoxide poisoning,” Choi Jin-seok, Ahn’s campaign chief, told reporters on Tuesday.

“But it seems like the two vehicles did not open the windows, perhaps because of the cold weather.”

Transportation officials revealed on Wednesday that the Ahn campaign had installed equipment on the buses without the approval of the Korea Transpiration Safety Authority.

Ahn paid his respects to the victims at two hospital funeral homes, but declined to speak with the press during his visits.

South Koreans will go to the polls to elect the next president on March 9.