Seoul, South Korea — At least 120 people were killed and 100 others injured when they were crushed by a large crowd pushing forward on a narrow street during Halloween celebrations in the capital Seoul, South Korean officials said.
Choi Seong-beom, chief of Seoul’s Yongsan Fire Department, said the death toll could rise and an unspecified number of the injured are in critical condition after Saturday night’s stampede in the Itaewon leisure district.
He said 74 of the dead had been taken to hospitals, while the bodies of the remaining 46, who had been held on the street, were being transported to a nearby gym so workers could identify them.
Officials say people were crushed to death after a large crowd entered a narrow alley near the Hamilton Hotel, a major party venue in Seoul.
More than 800 rescue workers and police officers from across the country, including all available personnel in Seoul, were dispatched to the streets to treat the injured.
The National Fire Agency said separately in a statement that officials were still trying to determine the exact number of emergency patients.
Television footage and photos showed ambulances lined up in the streets amid a heavy police presence and rescue workers carrying the injured on stretchers. EMTs and pedestrians were also seen performing CPR on people lying in the street.
In one section, paramedics were seen checking the status of a dozen or more people who lay motionless under blue blankets.
Police, who restricted traffic in surrounding areas to expedite transport of the injured to hospitals across the city, also confirmed dozens of people were resuscitated on the streets of Itaewon. The Seoul city government issued emergency text messages urging people in the area to return home quickly.
Some local media reports previously said the crush happened after a large number of people rushed to an Itaewon bar after hearing that an unidentified celebrity was visiting.
South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol issued a statement urging officials to ensure swift treatment of the injured and to check the security of the festival sites. He also ordered the Health Ministry to quickly deploy emergency medical teams and secure beds at a nearby hospital to treat the injured.
According to local media, around 100,000 people flocked to the streets of Itaewon for the Halloween celebrations, which were the largest since the pandemic began following the easing of COVID-19 restrictions in recent months.
https://6abc.com/south-korea-seoul-stampede-halloween/12394815/ Seoul: At least 120 dead, dozens more injured after being crushed in crowd surge at Halloween festivities in South Korea