Christian Seminary Sued for Wrongful Death of South Korean Exchange Student Accidentally Buried Alive in Sand at SoCal Beach

Posted on January 14, 2013

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The parents of an exchange student from Seoul, South Korea, who died while allegedly following instructions to make a promotional video for his school, have filed Tuesday a wrongful death lawsuit against The Master’s College and Seminary before a Los Angeles Superior Court.

According to the lawsuit, Mingyu “Paul” Sang died on August 22 when a hole dug on a beach collapsed on him as he was taking video footage of the Christian college for online promotions. Aside from The Master’s College and Seminary, which is located in Placerita Canyon Road in Santa Clarita, his mother, Guem Cho, and father, Young Sam, named as co-defendants Chapel Media, and David Tuck, who they claim was in charge of making the video.

As contended in the complaint, the defendants told Paul Sang to dig a hole in the sand and then film other students from inside it. He did. However, the weight of the students standing around the hole made the surrounding sand collapse, smothering and killing him. Afterwards,  as alleged, “(w)idespread panic ensued, but defendants had no proper emergency personnel in place.”

On the part of The Master’s College and Seminary, an earlier statement released to the press about Paul Sang’s death, reads: “Students from The Master’s College were participating in a recreational trip to the beach on Wednesday afternoon. At approximately 4:50 p.m., one of our students was involved in an accident. The student had been digging in the sand when he became trapped. The Ventura County fire department was called. The student was rescued and transported to the hospital where he was later pronounced dead.”

Officials from the Oxnard Fire Department, which responded to the emergency call, said that Sang was found lying face-up at the bottom of a 6- to 8-foot hole. Rescuers using hand tools, including 5-gallon buckets and shovels, took about 15 minutes before they were able to extricate him from the sand pit. He was immediately taken to the hospital in Ventura with CPR in progress, but the efforts failed to revive him. Sang was pronounced dead at Ventura County Medical Center. According to the Ventura County Coroner, he died from mechanical asphyxia, meaning he had outside force compressing on his chest. Oxnard police officials said there will be no further investigation into Sang’s death.

Sang, who moved to the United States from South Korea about five years ago, is a graduate of West Ranch High School in Valencia. According to his Facebook profile, he works at Wimage Inc., a Los Angeles tech company.

Sang’s parents are seeking unspecified damages for his alleged wrongful death

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