29th October, 2022
At least 59 people were killed and 150 more were injured in crowd stampede during Halloween celebrations in the Itaewon area of Seoul Saturday night, according to fire department officials.
According to Officials, people were crushed to death after a large crowd began pushing forward in a narrow alley near Hamilton Hotel, a major party spot in Seoul.
Some local media reports earlier said the crush happened after a large number of people rushed to an Itaewon bar after hearing an unidentified celebrity visited there.
Many of the victims were in their 20s and 30s, both Korean and foreigners, according to fire authorities cited in South Korean media reports.
South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol issued a statement calling for officials to ensure swift treatment for those injured and review the safety of the festivity sites.
He also instructed the Health Ministry to swiftly deploy disaster medical assistance teams and secure beds in nearby hospital to treat the injured.
AP quoted local media as reporting that around 100,000 people flocked to Itaewon streets for the Halloween festivities, which were the biggest since the start of the pandemic following the easing of COVID-19 restrictions in recent months.
Choi Seong-beom, chief of Seoul’s Yongsan fire department, said the death toll could grow as emergency workers were continuing to transport the injured to hospitals across Seoul following the stampede in the leisure district of Itaewon Saturday night.
Choi said 13 of the dead have been sent to hospitals while the bodies of the remaining 46 were still on the streets.
More than 400 emergency workers and 140 vehicles from around the nation, including all available personnel in Seoul, were deployed to the streets to treat the injured.
TV footage and photos from the scene showed ambulance vehicles lined up in streets amid a heavy police presence and emergency workers moving the injured in stretchers.
Emergency workers and pedestrians were also seen performing CPR on people lying in the streets.
In one section, paramedics were seen checking that status of a dozen or more people who lied motionless under blue blankets.
Police, which were restricting traffic in nearby areas to speed up the transportation of the injured to hospitals across the city, also confirmed that dozens of people were being given CPR on Itaewon streets. The Seoul Metropolitan Government issued emergency text messages urging people in the area to swiftly return home.
A local police officer said he was also informed that a stampede occurred on Itaewon’s streets where a crowd of people gathered for Halloween festivities. The officer requested anonymity, saying the details of the incident was still under investigation.