Halloween festivities in Seoul turned deadly after at least 154 people were killed in a crowd crush.
Halloween festivities in Seoul turned deadly after at least 154 people, including two Americans, were killed in a crowd crush.
- A huge crowd of Halloween revelers surged into a narrow alleyway in Itaewon, a popular nightlife district in the South Korean capital. Scores of people, mostly in their 20s and 30s, were trapped and suffocated in the surge.
- People “fell on each other ‘like dominos’” in the “hell-like” atmosphere, and the death toll may yet rise as 133 people are injured and 37 of those suffered from “serious conditions.”
- Witnesses told AP News police and emergency workers had to plead passersby to help perform CPR on victims as first responders were overwhelmed by the sheer number of injured.
- Crowd crushes can happen anywhere, like the Astroworld music festival tragedy in Houston last year that killed 10 people or the stampede at an Indonesia football stadium earlier this month that killed at least 125 people.
- Crowd crushes can turn deadly when a large mass of people surges toward a stage, exit or some other narrow point “with such force that people are literally squeezed to death.” Most people who die in a crowd surge are suffocated rather than trampled or crushed.
- World leaders offered their condolences to the people of South Korea and the families of the deceased. U.S. President Joe Biden, U.K. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, Pope Francis, and others offered personal messages of support.
- BBC News published a series of photographs of the aftermath of the horrific tragedy including Halloween masks forgotten on the ground in the chaos and desperate families searching for their loved ones.
- The New York Times profiled Steven Blesi, one of two Americans killed in the disaster. Blesi, 20, was studying abroad in South Korea and hoped to pursue a career in international business.
- The Washington Post interviewed survivors and witnesses, who described a “horrible” night of “true horror.” “There were so many bodies,” one 24-year-old witness told the Post.
- Breitbart published interviews three off-duty American soldiers who survived the disaster gave to AFP. One soldier told AFP they narrowly escaped the crowd just before “it started happening — everybody just fell on top of each other like dominoes.”
- The Wall Street Journal reported most of the victims were young and many were female, although what caused the crowd to fall remains unclear. Crowd-control experts told the Journal that authorities did not appear to have put in place sufficient safety measures for a crowd of that size.
- Fox News wrote South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol ordered a week-long period of national mourning in the wake of the tragedy. South Korean officials said they’ve received more than 350 missing persons reports following the disaster.
© Dominic Moore, 2022