Officials in Seoul, South Korea, claim that at least 153 people have dead in a crush after large Halloween crowds rushed into a constrained roadway.
The event occurred in the Itaewon nightlife district during the first uncovered Halloween celebrations since Covid, inflicting at least another 82 injuries.
According to reports, there was a terrible sight of individuals piled on top of one another.
Most of those who perished were young adults or teens. Twenty came from abroad.
The disaster’s origin is still being determined.
Yoon Suk-yeol, president of South Korea, gave the order to form a task force to assist in the treatment of the injured during an emergency meeting. He also started looking into what caused the crush.
The Sewol ferry tragedy in 2014, which claimed the lives of more than 300 people, set a record for the worst catastrophe in South Korea.
One of the most well-liked areas in Seoul for a night out is Itaewon. Every weekend, locals and visitors from abroad throng there, but Halloween is one of the biggest evenings of the year.
The first Halloween since the onset of the epidemic that gathering sizes were not restricted and individuals were not required to wear masks outside drew an estimated 100,000 people to celebrate there on Saturday.
A congested passageway that was small and slanted looks to be where the crush began. Social media posts of images and videos reveal how congested the lane was, making it impossible for anyone to walk around. In one video, folks are shown having trouble breathing. In another, first responders work to free victims from what looks to be a mass of dead bodies. There are distress cries audible.
Blue blankets covered the bodies that were lined up down the roadway. Others were taken into ambulances while still alive. Along with hundreds of emergency personnel who were dispatched from around the nation to assist, members of the public feverishly performed CPR on the unconscious people.
Families and friends of the missing have started arriving at the area this morning in search of information that would indicate whether their loved ones were present.
However, in order for relatives to see and identify the dead, the bodies were taken off the street and placed in a gym. This will likely take some time because there are so many casualties, but it is the police’ top priority right now.
Thirty-year-old Jeon Ga-eul was enjoying a beverage at a pub when the crush started.
She told the AFP news agency, “My pal said: Something dreadful is happening outside. “What are you talking about, I asked. Then I stepped outside to look, and I saw that CPR was being performed in the street.”
A doctor who provided first aid at the site reported that there were only two casualties when he began doing CPR, but “the number skyrocketed shortly after, outnumbering the initial responders.”
Some individuals commented on the Itaewon area’s crowdedness earlier in the evening in social media posts, saying they felt unsafe there.
Big crowds were typical for Christmas and fireworks celebrations, according to one witness, Park Jung-Hoon, but “this was several ten-folds greater than any of that,” he told Reuters news agency.
According to a local journalist, there has been “an emergency accident at Hamilton Hotel in Itaewon” and an urgent broadcast has been made to every mobile phone in the Yongsan District asking residents to get home as soon as possible.
The focus will probably turn to the crowd management procedures and safety regulations in place at these events. A study of the security at celebration locations has already been requested by President Yoon.
Many prominent international figures have sent their sympathies. Both French President Emmanuel Macron and British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak expressed their sympathies to the South Korean people.
Josep Borrell, the top diplomat for the EU, expressed his sadness and Jake Sullivan, the national security advisor for the US, promised American help.