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153 dead, 133 injured in South Korea Halloween crush

  • At least 153 people were killed and 133 more were injured amid Halloween festivities that drew tens of thousands of people to Seoul’s Itaewon district on Saturday night.

  • The tragedy reportedly occurred as a large crowd thronged an alley, resulting in a “crush” that saw people pile on top of each other “like dominos.”

  • A crowd crush is different from a stampede as the former happens when people push each other within a cramped space, while the latter offers the space to flee.

  • As of this writing, 141 of the deceased have been identified; 26 were foreign nationals from 14 countries, including two people from the U.S.

  • World leaders released statements to express their condolences following the tragedy, which some describe as South Korea’s worst since the sinking of the MV Sewol ferry in 2014.

  • The incident remains under investigation.

At least 153 people were crushed to death amid Halloween festivities in Seoul on Saturday night, with at least 26 identified as foreign nationals from 14 countries.

The tragedy, which injured at least 133 other people, occurred as tens of thousands of partygoers — many in their late teens to early 20s — flooded the nightclub district of Seoul’s Itaewon district to celebrate Halloween.

Reports say a huge crowd thronged an alley after 10 p.m. One witness reportedly tweeted about how people in the alley fell down “like dominos,” piling on top of each other.

Some news outlets have described the incident as a stampede, while others refer to it as a “crowd crush.” The latter reportedly happens when people push each other within a cramped space, resulting in a “domino effect” that makes breathing very difficult.

A stampede, on the other hand, offers people the space to escape. It occurs when a big crowd runs together in an uncontrolled manner to flee from something, according to Al Jazeera.

Videos of the tragic incident show both rescuers and laypeople performing CPR on victims. At one point, around 300 people reportedly needed resuscitation, leaving rescuers shorthanded.

Additionally, costumes added confusion to the chaos. Speaking to CNN, a partygoer who managed to flee to safety said they could not tell whether someone wearing a police officer uniform and shouting in the chaos was an actual police officer.

As of this writing, 141 of the deceased have been identified. At least 26 were foreign nationals from 14 countries, including two people from the U.S.

The incident has been considered by some as South Korea’s worst tragedy since the sinking of the MV Sewol ferry in 2014. That event killed more than 300 people, many of whom were high school students.

World leaders have since released statements to express their condolences.

“We grieve with the people of the Republic of Korea and send our best wishes for a quick recovery to all those who were injured,” U.S. President Joe Biden said. “The United States stands with the Republic of Korea during this tragic time.”

“Horrific news from Seoul tonight,” British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, who was elected into office on Tuesday, tweeted. “All our thoughts are with those currently responding and all South Koreans at this very distressing time.”

“I am deeply shocked and saddened by the loss of many precious lives, including young people with a promising future, in the tragic accident that occurred in Itaewon, Seoul,” Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida tweeted. “I would like to express my heartfelt condolences to the victims and their bereaved families, and pray for the speedy recovery of the injured.”

The incident remains under investigation.

Featured Image via Sky News

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