Halloween Stampede Leaves At Least 151 Dead And 82 Hurt In Seoul
At least 151 people were killed and 82 more were injured in South Korea’s biggest disaster in years when a crowd of primarily young people celebrating Halloween in Seoul became trapped and crushed.
After the Saturday night congestion in Itaewon, the capital’s entertainment center, emergency personnel, and pedestrians desperately gave CPR to victims laying in the streets.
Choi Seong-beom, chief of the Yongsan fire department in Seoul, said that the majority of those killed or injured were teenagers and adults in their 20s. He claimed that there were 19 foreigners among the dead, whose nationalities were not immediately disclosed. The number of fatalities may increase given that 19 of the injured people are in serious condition.
According to a statement released by the State Department on Saturday night, at least one American was hurt in the rush. “We stand ready to provide consular assistance, The statement added. We are working with local authorities to establish if any further US nationals were harmed.”
Prior to later revising their estimate, officials initially stated that 150 individuals had been hurt as of Sunday morning.
Officials from the National Fire Agency did not immediately provide an explanation for the lower death toll, but they did note that as rescue efforts continued, emergency personnel would have had a more accurate picture of the number of fatalities and that some of the injured would have turned out to be fatalities. Additionally, it was conceivable that some of the people who had suffered minor injuries had gone home the previous night and were no longer included in the count.
The nation’s largest outdoor Halloween celebrations since the pandemic started drew an estimated 100,000 people to Itaewon. In recent months, the South Korean government relaxed COVID-19 restrictions. An expat-friendly neighborhood noted for its hip bars, clubs, and restaurants are Itaewon, which is close to where the previous U.S. military forces in South Korea headquarters functioned before leaving the country in 2018.
Around 520 firefighters, 1,100 police officers, and 70 government employees were among the more than 1,700 emergency people from all around the nation who were sent to the streets to aid the injured. Officials were still attempting to estimate the precise number of emergency patients, according to a statement from the National Fire Agency.
What prompted the mob to pour into the small, downhill lane close to the Hamilton Hotel, a popular Seoul nightlife destination, was not immediately apparent. One witness claimed that after being pushed by others, numerous individuals collapsed and toppled one another “like dominos.”
The survivor, Kim, stated that they were imprisoned for almost one and a half hours before being rescued, during which time other individuals yelled, “Help me! According to the Sources, others were out of breath.
According to the sources, Lee Chang-kyu, another survivor, described witnessing about five to six guys begin shoving one another before one or two started falling one by one at the beginning of the stampede.
Since 304 people, largely high school students, perished in a ferry sinking in April 2014, the stampede is the worst calamity that has occurred. The sinking, which was largely attributed to an abundance of goods that was improperly tied and a crew that had not received adequate emergency training, exposed low safety regulations and regulatory failings. Public criticism of government officials’ actions to raise safety standards following the boat accident is likely to result from Friday’s stampede.
A significant police presence could be seen in the streets where ambulances were parked, and emergency personnel could be seen carrying the injured on stretchers. People who were laying in the streets were given CPR by emergency personnel as well as by bystanders. In one area, paramedics could be seen assessing the condition of at least a dozen persons who were lying still behind blue blankets.
One of the tourists who visited Itaewon, Hwang Min-hyeok, expressed amazement at seeing rows of bodies laid out in the alleyway close to the Hamilton Hotel in an interview with news outlet YTN. Initially overburdened, he claimed, emergency personnel left people scrambling to perform CPR on the injured who were laying in the streets. He stated that many sobbed next to the dead.
Another survivor in his 20s claimed that by entering a bar whose door was open at the alley, he managed to avoid being crushed, according to the Yonhap news agency. According to a woman in her 20s with the last name Park, she and others were standing at the side of the alley while others were trapped in the center.
President Yoon Suk Yeol of South Korea released a statement urging officials to ensure prompt medical attention for individuals who have been hurt and assess the security of the celebration places. He also gave the Health Ministry instructions to quickly dispatch disaster medical support teams and reserve beds in a neighboring hospital for the purpose of treating the injured.
The Seoul Metropolitan Government sent out emergency text messages advising locals to head back home right away.
President Biden sent a message on Saturday night in which he expressed his and Jill’s “heartfelt sympathies” to the families of those who perished in Seoul. “We express our condolences to the people of the Republic of Korea, and we wish everyone who was hurt a speedy recovery.
The bonds between our people are closer than ever, and the Alliance between our two nations has never been more vital or alive. In this tragic time, the United States supports the Republic of Korea.
In the past, there have been fatal stampedes in South Korea. In 2005, a stampede at a pop performance in the southern city of Sangju resulted in 11 fatalities and about 60 injuries. A teenage girl lost her life and numerous others were hurt in a stampede at a 1992 New Kids on the Block concert in Seoul.