South Korea in Grief, 151 die in Halloween Crowd Surge

SEOUL,  Oct 30 2022

South Korea’s President Yoon Suk-yeol declared a period of national mourning on Sunday after a Halloween crush killed some 151 people in a packed nightlife area in Seoul. Yoon expressed condolences to the victims, mostly teenagers and people in their 20s, and his wishes for a speedy recovery to the many injured.

“This is truly tragic,” he said in a statement”. A tragedy and disaster that should not have happened took place in the heart of Seoul last night.”

A huge crowd celebrating in the popular Itaewon district surged into an alley on Saturday night, emergency officials said, adding the death toll could rise. Choi Sung-beom, head of the Yongsan Fire Station, said 151 deaths had been confirmed, including 19 foreigners. He told a briefing at the scene 82 people were injured, 19 of them seriously.

It was the first Halloween event in Seoul in three years after the country lifted COVID-19 restrictions and social distancing. Many of the partygoers were wearing masks and Halloween costumes. Mostly in their teens and 20s, who got trapped and crushed after a huge Halloween party crowd surged into a narrow alley in a nightlife district in Seoul. Tens of thousands of people were believed to have gathered in Itaewon for festivities on Saturday night. Witnesses say the streets were so densely clogged with people and slow-moving vehicles that it was practically impossible for emergency workers and ambulances to reach the alley near Hamilton Hotel, as the situation quickly developed into one of the country’s worst disasters in years.

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