By Park Boram
SEOUL, Aug. 2 (Yonhap) -- Heavy rains pummeled central South Korea on Sunday, flooding homes, triggering mudslides, and forcing the suspension of train services and road closures. One firefighter went missing after being swept away in a flash flood, officials said.
The firefighter, identified by his surname Song, 29, was standing next to a stream in the central city of Chungju to check swollen waters when the ground suddenly collapsed and caused him to fall into the stream around 7:30 a.m.
A search operation is under way, officials said.
Torrential rain of up to 60 millimeters per hour soaked northern parts of North Chungcheong Province overnight, including Chungju, about 105 kilometers southeast of Seoul, and adjacent areas that include Cheongju, Jecheon and the county of Danyang.
More than 80 houses in Chungju were flooded, forcing some 120 residents to evacuate early Sunday morning.
Train services on all routes of three train lines running in the central and eastern parts of the country -- the Chungbuk, Taebaek and Jungang lines -- were suspended due to mudslides and flooding.
The Chungbuk Line runs from the central city of Sejong to Jecheon, the Taebak Line from Jecheon to the Gangwon Province city of Taebaek and the Jungang Line from Seoul to the southeastern city of Gyeongju.
Mudslides also caused a number of roads in the regions to close.
The national railway operator, the Korea Railroad Corp. (Korail), advised travelers in the affected regions to opt for other means of transportation as it may take considerable time to fix the train services.
The country's capital area, including cities in Gyeonggi Province encircling Seoul, also reported flooded houses and cases of property damage after heavy rain of around 60 mm per hour hit the areas.