Coupang’s delivery trucks at a parking lot in Seoul. (Yonhap)
Local e-commerce giant Coupang Inc. said Thursday that its parcel delivery worker who died the previous day while working was suffering from heart-related abnormalities and was only on his second day on duty.
The 43-year-old Coupang courier, whose identity was withheld, was found unconscious at a residential area in Incheon, 40 kilometers west of Seoul, at 12:57 p.m. Wednesday and pronounced dead while being transferred to a hospital.
The courier's death immediately triggered speculation that he may have become the latest delivery worker to die from apparent overwork because as many as 16 couriers died in South Korea last year amid increased demand for parcel deliveries due to the coronavirus pandemic.
But Coupang issued a statement, saying the courier was only on his second day on delivery duty and was undergoing a thorough medical checkup after showing heart-related abnormalities in his initial medical examination.
"The deceased employee began his parcel delivery duty after entering Coupang and completing a weeklong training. In general, new employees are assigned less delivery volume than other employees," the company said, apparently ruling out a possible link between his death and overwork.
Police have launched an investigation into the cause of his death and began questioning Coupang officials, his bereaved family and others.
Police said they have not found any external injury on the deceased courier who collapsed about 50 meters away from his delivery vehicle. Police have also asked the National Forensic Service to conduct an autopsy on his body. (Yonhap)