At least 154 people have been killed in a chaotic stampede in South Korea’s capital, Seoul Saturday after huge Halloween crowds surged into a narrow street during Halloween celebrations.
The victims were mostly women and young people in their 20s. It was the first Halloween event in Seoul in three years, following the lifting of COVID-19 restrictions and social distancing. Many of the attendees were dressed up in masks and Halloween costumes.
According to the local media, the incident occurred around 10 p.m. local time when a large crowd flooded a narrow alley near the Hamilton Hotel.
At least 132 other people have been reported injured, with 37 in critical condition, and the death toll is expected to rise further.
According to Reuters, the foreign ministry says 26 foreign nationals were killed. They included people from Iran, Uzbekistan, China, and Norway.
South Korean Prime Minister Han Duck-soo announced a thorough investigation into the stampede in what has become the country’s worst disaster in years.
Footage on social media showed multiple people, both rescue personnel & private citizens, performing CPR on people scattered in the street. Several videos showed dozens of people draped in blue plastic sheets on the side of the road.
South Korean president Yoon-suk-yeol declared a national mourning period.
According to the police, the leading cause of the disaster was a failure to control the size of the crowd – people were “so densely packed that a massive, crushing human pile-up resulted when they fell.” “That dreadful outcome was caused by extreme overcrowding,”