Article by Shashi Thakur
(Image credit: K2 Radio. Mourning declared in South Korea)
Halloween Stampede in Seoul
Firefighters and rescue workers worked in the area of a devastating accident in Seoul, South Korea, on 29th October Saturday, 2022.
Chief of Seoul’s Yongsan fire department, Choi Seong-beom, said the death toll could soar further and that an unidentified number were in critical condition, among the injured.
Mostly young people in their twenties enjoying Halloween festivities in Seoul became trapped and squeezed as the crowd flooded into a narrow alley, killing at least 151 people and injuring about 100 others in South Korea’s worst accident in years.
Pedestrians and emergency workers desperately conducted CPR on people lying in the streets after the havoc in the capital’s leisure district of Itaewon on Saturday night. Rescue workers brought injured people to the street near the event in Seoul, South Korea, early Sunday, on 30th Oct, 2022.
An estimated 100,000 people had assembled in Itaewon for the country’s largest outdoor Halloween celebrations since the pandemic started. COVID-19 restrictions in recent months had been eased by the South Korean government.
Itaewon, is an expat-friendly neighborhood known for its trendy bars, clubs, and restaurants. It’s a place where the past headquarters of U.S. military forces in South Korea governed, before shifting out of the capital in 2018.
It was not directly evident what steered the crowd to rise into the narrow downhill street near the Hamilton Hotel, a popular party spot in Seoul. One survivor said several people were knocked and tumbled on one another after they were being thrust by others.
Officials didn’t instantly disclose the death toll until the deaths were confirmed at hospitals. According to the Seoul-based Hankyoreh newspaper, one survivor said they were trapped for about an hour and a half before being saved, as some people cried “Help me!” and others were short of breath.
Another survivor said he witnessed about five to six men shove others before one or two began collapsing, according to the newspaper. In a talk with the news channel YTN, a tourist to Itaewon, said it was horrifying to see rows of bodies nearby the hotel.
He explained emergency workers were firstly overwhelmed, leaving pedestrians striving to administer CPR to the injured lying on the alleys. People sobbed beside the bodies of their friends, he said.
Another survivor said he averted being crushed by struggling to get into a bar whose door was loose at the lane. A woman in her 20s said that she and others were standing along the wall of the lane while others caught in the middle of the street had no escape.
Choi, the fire department head, said that bodies were being brought to hospitals or a gym, where bereaved family members could identify them. He announced the maximum number of the dead and injured are in their 20s.
It was also Asia’s second crucial crushing tragedy in a month. On 1st Oct, police in Indonesia blasted tear gas at a soccer match, inciting a stampede that killed 132 people as spectators tried to run away.
“Horrific news from Seoul tonight,” Rishi Sunak, the Prime Minister of Britain tweeted.
South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol handed out a statement calling for officials to assure speedy treatment for those injured and survey the security of the festivity locations.
24-year-old, South Korean actor-singer Lee Ji Han lost his life too in the deadly Halloween 2022 stampede in Seoul’s Itaewon district.
As the day passes, the South Korean capital- Seoul is looking for answers as the country mourns the victims of Saturday night’s deadly stampede in Itaewon.
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