Seoul Halloween Stampede Leaves At Least 151 Dead & 150 Injured
Warning: Some readers may find the photos in this article graphic. Discretion is advised.
UPDATE (30 Oct, 10.30am): The death toll is now at 151.
Halloween is a popular festival for those who like to dress up and party.
At least 149 people are now dead, and 150 are injured.
Most of them were in their 20s.
Around 100,000 people in Itaewon
Around 100,000 people descended upon the clubbing district of Itaewon on Saturday (29 Oct), reported The Korea Herald.
They were there to party on the weekend before Halloween, the first since Covid-19 restrictions were lifted in September.
Soon, however, the streets and alleys of Itaewon started getting crammed with people. One Twitter user posted that they “almost got crushed”.
Man couldn’t breathe in tightly packed streets
A 22-year-old man who was attending a Halloween party told CNN reporter Will Ripley that he couldn’t breathe as the streets got more tightly packed.
He had to leave his two friends, both Americans, behind.
They are still missing now.
Fire agency gets reports of breathing difficulties
Then at about 10.20pm local time, the National Fire Agency (NFA) started getting reports that people were having difficulty breathing.
According to a press release on NFA’s website, they received such reports one after another from a location near the Hamilton Hotel in Itaewon.
A stampede is believed to have occurred as a crowd gathered in a narrow alley on a downhill road near the hotel, they said.
Meanwhile, a netizen posted a video on Twitter of a crowd of people stuck and unable to move in a sloping alleyway. Rescue officers can be seen trying to pull people out.
The NFA estimated initially that there were about 50 cardiac arrest patients and about 100 casualties.
As of 11.30pm, they had received 81 rescue reports on respiratory difficulties.
A video posted on Twitter showed people performing cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) on a number of people lying motionless on the ground.
A netizen who described it as the “scariest Halloween” of her life posted a clip of people who look like passers-by trying to revive motionless people lying on the pavement.
By 1am the next morning, 21 patients in cardiac arrest were transferred to the emergency room of a nearby hospital.
Most of them were women in their 20s, but one was a 10-year-old girl.
A total of 142 ambulances and 848 personnel were deployed to the scene, including 364 firefighters, according to the Korea Herald.
149 confirmed dead in Seoul Halloween stampede so far
Unfortunately, 149 people have so far been confirmed dead, according to an NFA press release sent after 3am.
150 others are injured, many of whom are in serious condition and receiving emergency treatment, Reuters quoted officials as saying.
Most of the deceased were in their 20s, the Korea Herald said.
Identifying the bodies will take some time, and the number of casualties will continue to rise, officials said.
Mr Ripley, who’s at the scene, tweeted that he saw “body after body roll by” in stretchers. Many of them were wearing Halloween costumes.
He also updated that 1,701 personnel have responded to the incident, including 517 firefighters, 1,100 police officers and 70 govt workers.
In response to the incident, South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol convened an emergency meeting, reported the Korea Herald.
He directed officials to stop all vehicles and personnel from entering the area except to transport and treat patients.
This is a breaking news story and will be updated. Do check back for updates.
Have news you must share? Get in touch with us via email at email@example.com.
Drop us your email so you won't miss the latest news.