Stampede kills at least 149 at Halloween festivities in Seoul

A mass of principally younger individuals celebrating Halloween festivities in Seoul turned trapped and crushed as the group surged right into a slim alley, killing at the very least 149 individuals and injuring 150 others in South Korea’s worst catastrophe in years.

Emergency employees and pedestrians desperately carried out CPR on individuals mendacity within the streets after the crush within the capital’s leisure district of Itaewon Saturday night time.

Choi Seong-beom, chief of Seoul’s Yongsan fireplace division, mentioned the loss of life toll within the capital metropolis might rise and that an unspecified quantity among the many injured had been in essential situation.

An estimated 100,000 individuals gathered in Itaewon for the nation’s greatest outside Halloween festivities because the pandemic started. The South Korean authorities eased COVID-19 restrictions in current months. Itaewon — close to the place the previous headquarters of U.S. army forces in South Korea operated earlier than transferring out of the capital in 2018 — is understood for its fashionable bars, golf equipment and eating places.

It was not instantly clear what led the group to surge into the slim downhill alley close to the Hamilton Lodge, a serious celebration spot in Seoul. One survivor mentioned many individuals fell and toppled to 1 one other “like dominoes” after they had been being pushed by different individuals at a slim downhill alley close to Itaewon’s Hamilton Lodge. The survivor, surnamed Kim, mentioned some individuals shouted “Assist me!” and others had been in need of breath. Kim described being trampled by different individuals for about 1 1/2 hours earlier than being rescued, based on the Seoul-based Hankyoreh newspaper.

One other survivor, named Lee Chang-kyu, mentioned he noticed about 5 to 6 males begin pushing others earlier than one or two started falling one after the other firstly of the stampede, based on the newspaper.

In an interview with information channel YTN, Hwang Min-hyeok, one of many guests to Itaewon, mentioned it was stunning to see rows of our bodies laid down within the alley close to Hamilton Lodge. He mentioned emergency employees had been initially overwhelmed, leaving pedestrians struggling to manage CPR to the injured mendacity on the streets. Individuals cried beside our bodies, he mentioned.

One other survivor in his 20s mentioned he averted being trampled as he fortunately acquired right into a bar whose door was open on the alley, Yonhap information company reported. A girl in her 20s surnamed Park advised Yonhap that she and others had been standing alongside the aspect of the alley whereas others had been caught within the center.

Choi, the fireplace division chief, mentioned that the our bodies had been being despatched to hospitals or a health club, the place bereaved relations might establish them. He earlier mentioned a lot of the lifeless and injured are of their 20s.

An alleyway is cordoned off by authorities in Seoul on Sunday. Officers say it was believed that individuals had been crushed to loss of life after a big crowd started pushing ahead within the alleyway. (Kim Hong-ji/Reuters)

The final South Korean catastrophe this lethal additionally hit younger individuals the toughest. In April 2014, 304 individuals, principally highschool college students, died in a ferry sinking. The sinking uncovered lax security guidelines and regulatory failures; it was partially blamed on extreme and poorly mounted cargo and a crew poorly educated for emergency conditions. Saturday’s deaths will doubtless draw public scrutiny of what authorities officers have accomplished to enhance public security requirements because the ferry catastrophe.

It was additionally Asia’s second main crushing catastrophe in a month. On Oct. 1, police in Indonesia fired tear gasoline at a soccer match, inflicting a crush that killed 132 individuals as spectators tried to flee.

Greater than 800 emergency employees and cops from across the nation, together with all obtainable personnel in Seoul, had been deployed to the streets to deal with the injured. The Nationwide Hearth Company individually mentioned in an announcement that officers had been nonetheless attempting to find out the precise variety of emergency sufferers.

South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol issued an announcement calling for officers to make sure swift remedy for these injured and overview the security of the festivity websites.

This was the deadliest crushing catastrophe in South Korean historical past. In 2005, 11 individuals had been killed and round 60 others had been injured at a pop live performance within the southern metropolis of Sangju.

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