Friday, 01 Mar 2024

At least 153 killed in crowd crush during Halloween festivities in Seoul

At least 153 killed in crowd crush during Halloween festivities in Seoul


At least 153 killed in crowd crush during Halloween festivities in Seoul

Revellers reported chaotic scenes due to the sheer volume of people on the streets well before the deadly crush occurred at about 10.20pm, when a large crowd, many wearing Halloween costumes, surged into a steep, narrow alleyway off the main thoroughfare near the Hamilton Hotel.

Choi Sung-beom, the head of the Yongsan fire station, told reporters at the scene that 82 people had been injured, 19 of them seriously. The deaths included 22 foreigners, he said. Emergency workers warned the death toll could rise further.

Witnesses reported seeing crowds surging in different directions and people losing their footing on the slope, causing a domino effect. Videos posted online showed people trying to pull others out from the crush by their arms.

Most victims were in their teens and 20s, with 97 identified as female and 54 as male. At least 20 foreigners were among the dead, the foreign ministry said, including citizens of the US, Uzbekistan, Austria, Norway, Vietnam, Kazakhstan, Iran and Sri Lanka. One French national, three Russians and four Chinese people also died, their governments said.

Flags at government agencies and other public buildings were lowered to half-mast across South Korea on Sunday. Numerous Halloween parades, concerts and other events were cancelled and shops around the country took down Halloween displays and decorations.

More than 400 emergency workers and 140 vehicles from around the nation, including all available personnel in Seoul, were deployed to the streets of Itaewon on Saturday night to treat the injured.

TV footage and photos from the scene showed ambulance vehicles queued up in streets amid a heavy police presence and emergency workers moving the injured on stretchers. Emergency workers and passers-by were also seen performing CPR on people lying in the streets.

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