South Korea: 120 dead, over 100 injured after Halloween crowd surge

Rescue workers and firefighters work on the scene of a crushing accident in Seoul, South Korea, Saturday, Oct. 29, 2022. [Lee Ji-eun/Yonhap, AP]

At least 120 people were killed and 100 more were injured as they were crushed by a large crowd pushing forward on a narrow street during Halloween festivities in the capital of Seoul, South Korean officials said.

Choi Cheon-sik, an official from the National Fire Agency, said around 150 people were reported as injured during the crowd surge Saturday night in the Itaewon leisure district and that around 59 who were being treated for cardiac arrest had died.

Choi said it was believed that people were crushed to death after a large crowd began pushing forward in a narrow alley near Hamilton Hotel, a major party spot in Seoul.

He said more than 400 emergency workers from around the nation, including practically all available personnel in Seoul, were deployed to the streets to treat the injured. Officials didn’t immediately release a death toll.

Video on social media showed multiple first responders simultaneously performing CPR on people lying scattered in the street.

Police also confirmed that dozens of people were being given CPR on Itaewon streets while many others have been taken to nearby hospitals.

A local police officer said he was also informed that a stampede occurred on Itaewon’s streets where a crowd of people gathered for Halloween festivities. The officer requested anonymity, saying the details of the incident was still under investigation.

Some local media reports earlier said the crush happened after a large number of people rushed to an Itaewon bar after hearing an unidentified celebrity visited there.

South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol issued a statement calling for officials to ensure swift treatment for those injured and review the safety of the festivity sites. He also instructed the Health Ministry to swiftly deploy disaster medical assistance teams and secure beds in nearby hospital to treat the injured.

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