South Korea’s Yoon declares mourning period after Halloween crush

President Yoon held an emergency assembly with senior aides and ordered a process pressure be set as much as safe assets

President Yoon held an emergency assembly with senior aides and ordered a process pressure be set as much as safe assets

South Korea’s President Yoon Suk-yeol declared a interval of nationwide mourning on October 30, 2022 after a Halloween crush killed some 151 people in a packed nightlife area in Seoul.

Mr. Yoon expressed condolences to the victims, largely youngsters and folks of their 20s, and his needs for a speedy restoration to the numerous 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.”

A huge crowd celebrating in the popular Itaewon district surged into an alley on October 29, 2022 night time, emergency officers stated, including the demise toll might rise.

Choi Sung-beom, head of the Yongsan Fireplace Station, stated 151 deaths had been confirmed, together with 19 foreigners. He advised a briefing on the scene 82 individuals have been injured, 19 of them severely.

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 have been sporting masks and Halloween costumes.

Early on Sunday costumes and private belongings mingled with blood spots within the slim avenue. Survivors huddled below emergency blankets amid throngs of emergency staff, police, and media.

Lots of these killed have been close to a nightclub, Choi stated. Most of the victims have been girls of their 20s, whereas the foreigners killed included individuals from China, Iran, Uzbekistan and Norway, he stated.

Witnesses described the gang changing into more and more unruly and agitated because the night deepened. Chaos erupted simply earlier than the ten:20 p.m. (1320 GMT) stampede, with police readily available for the occasion at occasions struggling to regulate the crowds, witnesses stated.

Moon Ju-young, 21, stated there have been clear indicators of bother within the alley earlier than the incident. He advised Reuters it was greater than 10 occasions as crowded as typical.

Policemen stand guard on the scene the place a stampede throughout Halloween festivities killed and injured many individuals on the well-liked Itaewon district in Seoul, on October 30, 2022.
| Picture Credit score: Reuters

Social media footage confirmed a whole bunch of individuals packed within the slim, sloped alley crushed and motionless as emergency officers and police tried to tug them free.

Packed alley on slope

Choi, the Yongsan district hearth chief, stated all of the deaths have been seemingly from the crush within the alley.

Fireplace officers and witnesses stated individuals continued to pour into the alley after it was already packed wall-to-wall, when these on the prime of the slope fell, sending individuals beneath them toppling over others.

One girl stated her daughter, pulled from the crush of individuals, survived after being trapped for greater than an hour.

A makeshift morgue was arrange in a constructing subsequent to the scene. About 4 dozen our bodies have been wheeled out on wheeled stretchers and moved to a authorities facility to establish the victims, based on a Reuters witness.

The Itaewon district is well-liked with younger South Koreans and expatriates alike, its dozens of bars and eating places packed on Saturday for Halloween after companies had suffered a pointy decline over three years of the pandemic.

“You’ll see large crowds at Christmas and fireworks … however this was a number of ten-folds larger than any of that,” Park Jung-hoon, 21, advised Reuters from the scene.

Rescue workers work at the scene where a stampede during Halloween festivities killed an injured many people at the popular Itaewon district in Seoul, South Korea on October 30, 2022.

Rescue staff work on the scene the place a stampede throughout Halloween festivities killed an injured many individuals on the well-liked Itaewon district in Seoul, South Korea on October 30, 2022.
| Picture Credit score: Reuters

U.S. President Joe Biden and first woman Jill Biden despatched their condolences, writing: “We grieve with the individuals of the Republic of Korea and ship our greatest needs for a fast restoration to all those that have been injured.”

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak tweeted: “All our ideas are with these at the moment responding and all South Koreans at this very distressing time.”

With the easing of the COVID pandemic, curfews on bars and eating places and a restrict of 10 individuals for personal gatherings have been lifted in April. An outside masks mandate was dropped in Could.

President Yoon held an emergency assembly with senior aides and ordered a process pressure be set as much as safe assets to deal with the injured and launch a radical investigation into the reason for the catastrophe.

The catastrophe is among the many nation’s deadliest since a 2014 ferry sinking that killed 304 individuals, primarily highschool college students.

The sinking of the Sewol, and criticism of the official response, despatched shockwaves throughout South Korea, prompting widespread soul-searching over security measures within the nation which might be more likely to be renewed within the wake of Saturday’s crush.

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