During Halloween festivities, young people reportedly rushing to see an unidentified celebrity resulted in the deaths of at least 146 people, while another 150 were injured, in the South Korean capital of Seoul.
The Halloween celebration — which attracted approximately 100,000 people to the streets, the largest celebration in South Korea since COVID restrictions were eased — took place in Seoul’s entertainment district of Itaewon.
The festivities spiraled into pure terror on Saturday night after young people reportedly rushed to see an unidentified celebrity at a nearby bar. As hundreds of partygoers poured into a narrow alley by the Hamilton Hotel, the massive flow of people resulted in many falling to the ground and being crushed.
Reporter Ian Miles Cheong posted a thread of videos from the incident.
“EMTs try to rescue victims of massive overcrowding at a Halloween event. Horrific,” he wrote, adding: “Many didn’t make it.”
“So many casualties,” he wrote in a subsequent tweet, sharing a video of EMTs attempting to revive numerous victims scattered across the pavement.
(Warning: Graphic Video)
Itaewon, Seoul. EMTs try to rescue victims of massive overcrowding at a Halloween event. Horrific. pic.twitter.com/3Jk7YagPbI
— Ian Miles Cheong (@stillgray) October 29, 2022
The horrific aftermath of the incident shows lifeless bodies strewn across the street covered with blue blankets, with some unconscious people being given CPR in an attempt to save their lives. According to South Korean officials, approximately 50 people suffered from cardiac arrest.
There were so many bodies that they had to be moved to a nearby gymnasium so that workers could begin to identify them.
Approximately 850 emergency workers and police officers from across South Korea, including all available personnel in Seoul, rushed in to treat victims. There was a heavy police presence in the area and emergency vehicles lined the streets of the chaotic scene.
Officials in Seoul said that at least 120 people were dead and 100 others were injured after a stampede in the South Korean capital's popular Itaewon district, where crowds had gathered to celebrate Halloween. https://t.co/auJuczo3Ll pic.twitter.com/7FXmfW8qab
— The New York Times (@nytimes) October 29, 2022
A report from the Daily Mail noted that 146 people were killed and 150 were injured from the deadly stampede.
According to Choi Seong-beom, the chief of Seoul’s Yongsan fire department, the death toll may rise — as there are currently an unspecified number of victims in critical condition.
South Korean president Yoon Suk Yeol had instructed the country’s health ministry to immediately deploy disaster medical assistance teams, and requested that they take steps to secure beds in nearby hospitals to treat those who were injured in the stampede. The president also demanded an investigation into the safety issues at the Halloween celebration.
The Washington Post’s Tokyo/Seoul bureau chief Michelle Ye Hee tweeted about the ongoing process of identifying the deceased.
“There are still so many unidentified bodies and possibly even more casualties from Itaewon. Seoul city is compiling a roster of people calling in to ask about their missing loved ones. It’s 4:25 a.m., and the investigation and the identification of bodies is only just beginning,” she wrote.
There are still so many unidentified bodies and possibly even more casualties from Itaewon. Seoul city is compiling a roster of people calling in to ask about their missing loved ones. It's 4:25 a.m., and the investigation and the identification of bodies is only just beginning.
— Michelle Ye Hee Lee (@myhlee) October 29, 2022