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Car crash caught on camera sparks government investigation

Korea Crash
Highlights
  • A car suddenly accelerated as a couple drove to a store
  • Their son posted rearview camera video from the drive and subsequent crash
  • South Korean ministry is investigating claim of sudden unintended acceleration
  • Hyundai declines interview request, says National Forensic Service also is investigating

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By Paula Hancocks

(CNN) — It’s a South Korean car crash that has been viewed online 2 million times over the past week and has sparked a government-led investigation.

A couple in their 60s were driving to a department store in Daegu, 238 kilometers (148 miles) south of Seoul, when their car suddenly accelerated. Their son, who wants to be identified only by his surname, Kwon, posted the video from May 6 onto an Internet forum, he says to prove his father was not at fault.

Kwon told CNN, “My father said he heard an odd noise from the car. He thought there was something wrong, then felt the vehicle suddenly accelerating. He twisted the car wheel to the left as he was trying to avoid the cars in front of him, and that is when the vehicle accelerated at a crazy speed. He continued to avoid traffic and people but in the end, there was nowhere else to dodge, and he crashed into a car.”

The footage from a camera attached to the rearview mirror — a common practice in South Korea — shows that the car also drove through two red lights before it crashed into the stationary car at a speed believed to be 80 mph (129 kph). You can hear the couple saying, “Oh my God, what is happening, what is wrong?” The wife screams “Oh no” just before impact.

Kwon says his mother, 63, had an operation for internal bleeding and is awaiting a second operation on her back. His father, 65, suffered a fractured finger and fractured ribs.

The Ministry of Land, Transport and Maritime Affairs says it is investigating the claim of sudden unintended acceleration. Sohn Young-sam, an official at the ministry, told CNN that 80 claims of such acceleration have been investigated since 2003.

Hyundai declined a CNN interview request but sent a statement saying, “The vehicle is being investigated by the Korean National Forensic Service. There is no time estimate for the conclusion of the investigation.”

CNN’s K.J. Kwon contributed to this report.

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