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19 Foreigners among 151 killed in Halloween stampede in Korea

Of the deceased, 97 are female and 54 are male. The death toll is feared to increase.

As of early Sunday, some 270 missing reports were made in connection with the accident, the Seoul city government said.

Monitoring Desk

Seoul, Korea

At least 151 people have been killed and 82 others injured in a deadly stampede in Seoul’s Itaewon district as huge crowds of partygoers, many in their late teens and 20s, converged in the entertainment district for late-night Halloween celebrations.

The deadliest stampede in Korea’s history happened Saturday night in a narrow downhill alley near Hamilton Hotel in the famous nightlife district after tens of thousands of people visited the area for Halloween.

Korea-2As of 9 a.m. Sunday, a total of 151 people, including 19 foreigners, have been killed and 82 others injured, 19 of them seriously, according to Choi Seong-beom, head of the fire department in Yongsan, which includes Itaewon.

Of the deceased, 97 are female and 54 are male, Choi said.

The foreigners killed include those from Iran, Uzbekistan, China and Norway, he said.

KoreaIt was the first Halloween event in Seoul in three years after the country lifted many COVID-19 restrictions. Most of the people on the streets were wearing Halloween costumes.

Victims in their late teens and 20s accounted for the age group most affected by the accident, the authorities also said. It is not yet known whether the victims included minors.

Fire authorities initially received dozens of reports from people in the Itaewon area about patients with breathing difficulties. The first report was made around 10:15 p.m.

“As people in the front fell over, those in the back were crushed,” a witness in his 20s told Yonhap News Agency.

Rumors at the scene were that a crowd of people had flocked to a place to see a celebrity or candies laced with drugs had been distributed at clubs, but the exact cause of the accident is yet to be known.

President Yoon Suk-yeol addressed the nation live from the presidential office, saying Saturday’s “tragedy and disaster should never have happened.”

The president also announced a period of national mourning over the stampede.

Before addressing the nation, Yoon also presided over two successive emergency meetings, ordering officials to swiftly administer first aid and treat the injured, the presidential office said.

Yoon also ordered officials to deploy emergency medical officials to Itaewon and secure emergency beds.

A total of 848 personnel, including 346 firefighters, were mobilized for the area.

Korea-3As of early Sunday, some 270 missing reports were made in connection with the accident, the Seoul city government said.

Police said they are making utmost efforts in confirming the identity of the victims and then making contacts with their family members.

Police plan to launch an investigation soon into whether bars and clubs in the area were in compliance with safety regulations.

Most of the dead were in their 20s. Officials expect that the number of casualties will continue to rise throughout the day.

Around 100,000 people were in the entertainment district throughout the day on Saturday to celebrate the first Halloween weekend without mask and social distancing measures since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Courtesy: Korea Times, Korea Herald (Posted on October 30, 2022)

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