A mass of mostly young people celebrating Halloween festivities in Seoulbecame trapped and crushed as the crowd surged into a narrow alley, killing at least 151 people and injuring 82 others in South Korea’s worst disaster in years
Emergency workers and pedestrians desperately performed CPR on people lying in the streets after the crush in the capital’s leisure district of Itaewon Saturday night.
Those killed or hurt were mostly teens and people in their 20s, according to Choi Seong-beom, chief of Seoul’s Yongsan fire department.
The dead included 19 foreigners, he said, whose nationalities weren’t immediately released. The death toll could rise further as 19 of those injured were in critical condition
An estimated 1,00,000 people had gathered in Itaewon for the country’s biggest outdoor Halloween festivities since the pandemic began.
The South Korean government eased COVID-19 restrictions in recent months.
Itaewon, near where the former headquarters of U.S. military forces in South Korea operated before moving out of the capital in 2018, is an expat-friendly district known for its trendy bars, clubs and restaurants.
It was not immediately clear what led the crowd to surge into the narrow downhill alley near the Hamilton Hotel, a major party spot in Seoul.
One survivor said many people fell and toppled one another “like dominos” after they were being pushed by others. The survivor, surnamed Kim, said they were trapped for about an hour and a half before being rescued, as some people shouted “Help me!” and others were short of breath, according to the Seoul-based Hankyoreh newspaper.