South Korea’s President Yoon Suk-yeol declared a interval of nationwide mourning on Sunday after a Halloween crush killed some 151 people in a packed nightlife space in Seoul.
Yoon expressed condolences to the victims, principally youngsters and folks of their 20s, and his needs for a speedy restoration to the injured.
“That is really tragic,” he stated in a press release. “A tragedy and catastrophe that ought to not have occurred befell within the coronary heart of Seoul final night time.”
An enormous crowd celebrating within the common Itaewon district surged into an alley on Saturday night time, emergency officers stated, including the dying toll might rise.
Choi Sung-beom, head of the Yongsan Hearth Station, stated 151 deaths had been confirmed, together with 19 foreigners. He instructed a briefing on the scene 82 folks had been injured, 19 of them critically.
It was the primary Halloween occasion in Seoul in three years after the nation lifted COVID-19 restrictions and social distancing. Most of the partygoers had been sporting masks and Halloween costumes.
Some witnesses described the group changing into more and more unruly and agitated because the night deepened. The incident befell at about 10:20 p.m. (1320 GMT).
“Quite a lot of folks fell throughout a Halloween competition, and now we have numerous casualties,” Choi stated. A lot of these killed had been close to a nightclub.
Most of the victims had been girls of their 20s, whereas the foreigners killed included folks from China, Iran, Uzbekistan and Norway, Choi stated.
Witnesses described chaos moments earlier than the stampede, with the police readily available in anticipation of the Halloween occasion at instances having hassle sustaining management of the crowds.
Moon Ju-young, 21, stated there have been clear indicators of hassle within the alleys earlier than the incident. “It was not less than greater than 10 instances crowded than regular,” he instructed Reuters.
Social media footage confirmed lots of of individuals packed within the slender, sloped alley crushed and motionless as emergency officers and police tried to drag them to free.
Choi, the Yongsan district fireplace chief, stated all of the deaths had been seemingly from the crush within the single slender alley.
Hearth officers and witnesses stated folks continued to pour into the alley that was already packed wall-to-wall, when these on the high of the sloped road fell, sending folks under them toppling over others.
One lady stated her daughter, pulled from the crush of individuals, survived after being trapped for greater than an hour.