Seoul Halloween stampede: at least 149 dead. At least 149 people, mostly teenagers and young adults in their 20s, died when a large crowd of people celebrating Halloween rushed into an alley in a nightlife area of Seoul, South Korea, on Saturday night.
Choi Sung-beom, head of the Yongsan Fire Station, said at the scene that 65 more people were hurt in the fight in the Itaewon neighborhood of Seoul.
Officials said that 19 of the people who were hurt were in serious condition and getting emergency care. They also said that the number of people who died could go up.
It was the first Halloween party in Seoul in three years, after COVID restrictions and social separation were lifted. Many of the people at the party were wearing Halloween masks and costumes.
Some people who were there said that as the night went on, the crowd got rowdier and more upset. The thing happened around 10:20 p.m. (1320 GMT).
Many of the fatalities occurred adjacent to a nightclub, according to Choi, who said, “A lot of individuals fell during a Halloween party, and we have a lot of casualties.”
Moon Ju-young, who is 21 years old, said that there were clear signs of trouble in the alleys before the incident.
At least ten times as many people as usual were there, he said.
Social media videos showed that hundreds of people were crushed and unable to move while emergency workers and police tried to free them.
Choi, the fire chief for the Yongsan district, said that all of the deaths were probably caused by the crowding in the single narrow alley.
Other videos showed a lot of chaos as firefighters and regular people tried to help dozens of people who seemed to be unconscious.
Witnesses and fire officials said that people kept crowding into the narrow alley, which was already full to the brim. When people at the top of the sloping street fell, they knocked people below them over.
A woman who didn’t give her name but said she was the mother of a survivor said that her daughter and other people were stuck in the crowd for more than an hour before they were rescued.
A person who spoke to Reuters said that a makeshift morgue had been set up in a building near the scene. A witness said that about four dozen bodies were taken out later on wheeled stretchers and taken to a government building to be identified.
On Saturday, for Halloween, its dozens of bars and restaurants were full, even though business had dropped sharply over the past three years due to the pandemic.
The audience and pyrotechnics around Christmas are typically large, but Park Jung-hoon, 21, told Reuters that the event was 10 times larger.
Two of the people who died were from outside the country, and others were taken to hospitals nearby.
U.S. President Joe Biden and his wife sent condolences and a letter that said, “We are sad for the people of the Republic of Korea and hope that everyone who was hurt will get better soon.”
In a tweet, British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said, “At this very sad time, all of our thoughts are with those who are helping and with all South Koreans.”
The South Korean police have claimed that they are conducting an investigation into the circumstances that led to the occurrence.
The disaster is one of the deadliest in the country since a ferry sank in 2014, killing 304 people, most of whom were high school students.
South Korea was shocked by the sinking of the Sewol and the criticism of the government’s response. This led to a lot of soul-searching about safety measures in the country, which are likely to be updated after Saturday’s crush.
President Yoon Suk-yeol called an emergency meeting with his top aides and told them to set up a task force to find money to treat the injured and start a thorough investigation into what caused the disaster.