By KIM TONG-HYUNG and HYUNG-JIN KIM (Related Press)
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — A mass of principally younger folks celebrating Halloween festivities in Seoul grew to become trapped and crushed as the group surged right into a slender alley, killing a minimum of 146 folks and injuring 150 others in South Korea’s worst catastrophe in years.
Emergency staff and pedestrians desperately carried out CPR on folks mendacity within the streets after the crush within the capital’s leisure district of Itaewon Saturday night time.
Choi Seong-beom, chief of Seoul’s Yongsan hearth division, mentioned the dying toll might rise additional and that an unspecified quantity among the many injured have been in crucial situation.
An estimated 100,000 folks had gathered in Itaewon for the nation’s largest out of doors Halloween festivities because the pandemic started. The South Korean authorities eased COVID-19 restrictions in current months. Itaewon, close to the place the previous headquarters of U.S. navy forces in South Korea operated earlier than transferring out of the capital in 2018, is thought for its stylish bars, golf equipment and eating places.
It was not instantly clear what led the group to surge into the slender downhill alley close to the Hamilton Lodge, a significant social gathering spot in Seoul. One survivor mentioned many individuals fell and toppled each other “like dominos” after they have been being pushed by others. The survivor, surnamed Kim, mentioned they have been trapped for about an hour and a half earlier than being rescued, as some folks shouted “Assist me!” and others have been wanting breath, in response to the Seoul-based Hankyoreh newspaper.
One other survivor, named Lee Chang-kyu, mentioned he noticed about 5 to 6 males first pushed others earlier than one or two started falling firstly of the stampede, in response to the newspaper.
In an interview with information channel YTN, Hwang Min-hyeok, a customer to Itaewon, mentioned it was surprising to see rows of our bodies close to the lodge. He mentioned emergency staff have been initially overwhelmed, leaving pedestrians struggling to manage CPR to the injured mendacity on the streets. Individuals wailed beside the our bodies of their associates, he mentioned.
One other survivor in his 20s mentioned he prevented being trampled by managing to get right into a bar whose door was open on the alley, Yonhap information company reported. A girl in her 20s surnamed Park informed Yonhap that she and others have been standing alongside the facet of the alley whereas others caught in the midst of the alley had no escape.
Choi, the hearth division chief, mentioned that our bodies have been being despatched to hospitals or a health club, the place bereaved members of the family might establish them. He mentioned a lot of the useless and injured are of their 20s.
The final South Korean catastrophe this lethal additionally hit younger folks the toughest. In April 2014, 304 folks, principally highschool college students, died in a ferry sinking. The sinking uncovered lax security guidelines and regulatory failures; it was partially blamed on extreme and poorly mounted cargo and a crew poorly educated for emergency conditions. Saturday’s deaths will probably draw public scrutiny of what authorities officers have finished to enhance public security requirements because the ferry catastrophe.
It was additionally Asia’s second main crushing catastrophe in a month. On Oct. 1, police in Indonesia fired tear fuel at a soccer match, inflicting a crush that killed 132 folks as spectators tried to flee.
Greater than 800 emergency staff and law enforcement officials from across the nation, together with all accessible personnel in Seoul, have been deployed to the streets to deal with the injured. The Nationwide Hearth Company individually mentioned in an announcement that officers have been nonetheless attempting to find out the precise variety of emergency sufferers.
South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol issued an announcement calling for officers to make sure swift remedy for these injured and evaluation the security of the festivity websites.
This was the deadliest crushing catastrophe in South Korean historical past. In 2005, 11 folks have been killed and round 60 others have been injured at a pop live performance within the southern metropolis of Sangju.