At least 146 people died and 150 were injured in a stampede at a prominent market in the South Korean capital Seoul, where a large crowd gathered for Halloween festivities, officials said.
Police and firefighters were seen trying to revive people who had suffered a cardiac arrest in the chaos of the narrow streets. Crowds, estimated at 10,000, gathered on Saturday night in Itaewon, a central district of the megacity that is home to hundreds of shops and party venues, local news agencies said.
– (@ feedforyou11) October 29, 2022
Excitement ran high as it extended until October 31, the first Halloween celebration in two years that was muted due to Covid restrictions.
Just before midnight local time, dozens of people passed out near a hotel, reports The Korea Herald. The fire department said it received the first report of shortness of breath at around 10:30 a.m., the report said. The number passed 100 in about an hour.
Ordinary people also try to resuscitate – by pressing the chest to bring the heart back to life – in panic-stricken videos.
News agencies PTI and AFP quoted officials as reporting the first deaths more than two hours later. The number was initially reported as nine to 59 and then 146, at 4:15 am.
Local media reported that the injured included many women in their 20s.
A fire department official told AFP news agency that more than 140 ambulances had been dispatched to the scene.
– Chloe Park 🦋 in Seoul (@chloepark) October 29, 2022
Hyunsu Yim, a journalist with The Korea Herald, tweeted: “A scene of absolute chaos in Itaewon right now as Halloween night has turned into a major safety hazard with at least some partygoers being put in an ambulance.” He also shared two photos.
The sheer chaos in Itaewon on Halloween night turned into a major safety hazard with at least some partygoers being rushed into ambulances. pic.twitter.com/JqVpbYiFrv
– Hyunsu Yim (@hyunsuinseoul) October 29, 2022
He added: “I’m seeing pictures that I don’t think are wise to share here but they are heartbreaking… What is certain now is that tonight is going to be one of those terrible nights. and saddest for Halloween in this country.”
Before the stampede, several Twitter users had posted warning people not to visit the area because it was out of control.
– JKL🐰 (@ JKL97ML) October 29, 2022
“Don’t go to Itaewon. It’s like death here… My arm is almost broken,” one woman posted the video along with it.
President Yoon Suk-yeol issued a statement through his spokesman shortly after the first reports: “All relevant ministries and agencies, headed by the Minister of Public Security and Security, need to make efforts. do our best to promptly provide aid to the victims.”