More than 150 people die in the human stampede at a Halloween party in Seoul

At least 153 personalities have died and 133 have been injured, almost 40 of them seriously, after a massive human stampede that occurred during a Halloween carnival in the Itaewon neighborhood, in Seoul, the capital of South Korea, according to the latest balance published this Sunday by the country’s Ministry of Public Security, which shows that 22 of the deceased kid foreigners.

The incident occurred at night, when a crowd gathered in a narrow alley about four meters wide, a slope down next to the Hamilton hotel, in downtown Itaewon. “At 10:46 p.m. on October 29 there was an accident due to overcrowding near the Hamilton hotel,” the Central Office for Disasters and Security of the Ministry of the South Korean Interior, after the emergency services received at least 81 warning calls from the Hamilton hotel area for breathing difficulties since 11:30 p.m.

An eyewitness cited by the official agency of South Korean news, Yonhap, has explained that people began to come out around 10:30 am and ten minutes later “everyone suddenly began to fall and the people who remained below were crushed” Other personalities present have described that the personalities were stacked in “layers” of up to five and six levels. The authorities have indicated that most of the deceased were young people around 20 years of age. There are three soldiers dead and four wounded–it is unknown if they were on duty–and at least twenty foreigners among the victims, whose nationalities have not been disclosed.

An eyewitness quoted by the official South Korean news agency, Yonhap, explained that people began to leave around 10:30 a.m. and ten minutes later “everyone suddenly began to fall and the people who were left below were crushed. Other personalities present have described that the personalities were piled up in “layers” of up to five and six levels.

The number of fatalities could increase in the next few hours, because right now there are 37 patients in a state of tomb.

More than twenty deceased foreigners

The South Korean government has confirmed twenty deceased foreigners who must be add two other unofficial ones. Among those registered are four personalities of Chinese nationality and another four Iranians. There are also three Russian citizens and at least one fatality from each of these countries: the United States, France, Vietnam, Uzbekistan, Norway, Kazakhstan, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Austria.

Sources from the Central Security and Disaster Countermeasures Headquarters have confirmed, on condition of anonymity, the death of an Australian citizen and another foreigner with unconfirmed nationality.

Overall, 45 lost their lives in the first minutes of the tragedy and their bodies have been temporarily transferred to the Wonhyo gym and then taken to the morgue of the Soonchunhyang University Hospital in Yongsan.

The Seoul Metropolitan Police has already opened an investigation and a campaign healthcare facility has been set up at the site with the support of the Seoul National University Hospital, Kyunghee University Hospital and Hanyang University Hospital.

At least 143 emergency vehicles including ambulances and fire trucks were sent to the scene along with 848 professional rescuers. According to the Korean agency Yonhap, these troops carried out the search work until 3:00 a.m. , when they have proceeded to practice cardiopulmonary resuscitation maneuvers as soon as they moved the bodies to the main road. The air media have reported that friends and citizens have also made efforts to revive those affected, given the large number of victims.

The injured have been transferred to the Soonchunhyang University Hospital, the Medical Center Hospital, Mokdong Ewha Women’s University Hospital, Gangbuk Samsung Hospital, Seoul St. Mary’s Hospital, Chungang University Hospital, Seoul National University Hospital and Yeouido St. Mary’s Hospital. The Soonchunhyang University Hospital has set up a specific mortuary for the victims.

Merchants interviewed by Yonhap areas have explained that the crowd began to gather in the area during the day and at nightfall tens of thousands of personalities filled the narrow streets of Itaewon.

The Police had previously reported that they expected a large concentration of some 100,000 personalities at the Halloween carnival in which the tragedy occurred. The agents have proceeded to close all the bars and restaurants near the accident site since 1:00 a.m.

The president declares official mourning

The South Korean president, Yoon Suk Yeol, has announced a period of official mourning until November 5 and has ordered that the flags fly at half-staff “until the accident is under control”, in an intervention on the TV channel YTN television.

” It’s awful, this tragedy should never have happened. (…) As president, my responsibility is the safety of the lives of citizens, for which my heart is heavy and I struggle to deal with this duel”, he expressed.

In addition, the president has assured that the most important thing at this time is to determine the causes of the accident in order to prevent similar incidents. “We are going to thoroughly investigate the case and make fundamental improvements so that similar accidents do not take place in the future”, he stated in his speech collected by the newspaper ‘Korean Times’.

As soon as the facts, Yoon has called an emergency meeting of the President’s Crisis Management Center in Yongsan, Seoul. The mayor of Seoul, Oh Se Hoon, has also been informed and is returning from Europe after suspending a trip in which he was scheduled to visit four countries.

The international community stands in solidarity with Seoul

The President of the United States, Joe Biden, has conveyed his condolences on behalf of himself and his wife, Jill Biden, to all the families who have lost their loved ones in Seoul.

” We mourn the Republic of Korea and send our best wishes for a speedy recovery to all those who have been injured. The alliance between our countries has never been more essential and the ties between our boy population stronger than ever. The United States supports the Republic of Korea during these hard times”, reads the statement released by the White House.

The President of the European Council, Charles Michel , has also expressed his ‘shock’ at so many deaths during the Halloween celebrations. “My deepest condolences to all the families and friends of the victims of the awful accident in South Korea,” he has written on his Twitter profile. Likewise, he wished that all the injured had a speedy recovery and affirmed that the European Union is with them in solidarity.

The high representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs, Josep Borrell and the President of the European Parliament, Roberta Metsola, who stated that she was shocked by the latest news from Seoul. “My thoughts are with the family and friends of those who have lost their lives and those who have been injured,” she wrote.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz has expressed condolences to him on the same social network. “The tragic events in Seoul have left us in ‘shock’. Our thoughts are with the many victims and their families. It is a sad day for South Korea and Germany stands by their side,” he said.

In the same vein, the French president, Emmanuel Macron, has conveyed the French country’s support for Seoul, a country for which he has stated that he has a “moving thought” tonight.

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