South Korea: 151 killed, 81 injured in stampede during Halloween celebration
Most of those killed were in their 20s.
One hundred and fifty-one people died and 81 others were injured in a stampede during a Halloween celebration in South Korea’s Seoul on Saturday night, The Korea Herald reported.
The incident occurred in the city’s Itaewon area – a locality popular for its nightlife – where an estimated one lakh people had gathered. Most of those killed were in their 20s, according to the BBC.
This was the first time that public celebrations were allowed in the city since the Covid-19 pandemic which began in 2020.
Videos shared on social media showed panicked crowd and emergency workers attempting to revive persons who were said to have gone into cardiac arrest.
Choi Seong-beom, the chief of Seoul’s Yongsan Fire Department, said the death toll could rise further as many of those injured were in critical condition, reported the Associated Press.
“There were so many people that we couldn’t move,” a witness told The New York Times. “It looked like I would have died if I had fallen.”
South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol said an investigation has been ordered into the stampede. He also asked officials to review safety norms at festival sites.
Several world leaders offered their condolences.
United States President Joe Biden said he hoped for the injured festival participants to recover quickly. “The United States stands with the Republic of Korea during this tragic time,” he added.
French President Emmanuel Macron said that his “heartfelt thoughts” were with the residents of Seoul. “France is by your side,” he said, according to the BBC.
“Horrific news from Seoul tonight,” wrote British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak. “All our thoughts are with those currently responding and all South Koreans at this very distressing time.”