updated 10/15/2007 12:31:51 PM ET 2007-10-15T16:31:51

A footbridge collapsed at a mountain resort in North Korea on Monday, injuring 20 South Korean tourists, an official said.

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The accident happened around 10:30 a.m. when a piece of steel that held in place an iron wire supporting the 65-foot-long bridge came unbuckled at the scenic Diamond Mountain resort, with 20 South Koreans falling 22 feet to the ground below, said Lee Jae-hee, a spokesman for Hyundai Asan, the South Korean operator of the resort.

Among the 20, six seriously injured were taken for treatment to Goseong, South Korea's eastern coastal city near the border with North Korea, said Lee.

The six "are all conscious and they did not sustain life-threatening injuries," said Lee.

He said the 14 others suffered minor injuries and planned to stay in the mountain resort before wrapping up their trip and returning home this week.

The accident prompted South Korea to move forward its annual inspection on the resort by a month to November to review overall safety conditions there, according to the Unification Ministry, which handles inter-Korean affairs.

The tourism program to the North's scenic Diamond Mountain is one of the key projects representing inter-Korean reconciliation that has gained momentum in recent years between the North and South, which remain technically at war.

So far, more than 1.6 million South Koreans have visited the mountain resort since 1998, when the isolated North opened it to South Korea.

Copyright 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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