South Korean officials say that at least 151 people died and another 150 were hurt when a large crowd pushed forward on a narrow street during Halloween celebrations in the capital city of Seoul.
Choi Seong-beom, the head of the Yongsan fire department in Seoul, said that the number of deaths could go up because emergency workers were still taking the injured to hospitals all over Seoul after the stampede in Itaewon on Saturday night. He said that 13 of the dead had been taken to hospitals, but the other 46 were still lying on the streets.
Officials believe that people died when a large crowd pushed forward in a narrow alley near the popular party spot Hamilton Hotel in Seoul.
During Halloween parties in Seoul, South Korea, dozens of people are said to have had strange signs of a heart attack. pic.twitter.com/qCCgzxeZzW — Frida Ghitis (@FridaGhitis) Oct. 29, 2022
More than 400 emergency workers and 140 vehicles from all over the country, including all the available workers in Seoul, were sent to the streets to help treat the injured.
In a separate statement, the National Fire Agency said that officials were still trying to figure out the exact number of people who needed emergency care.
On TV and in photos from the scene, ambulances were lined up in the streets, and there were a lot of police officers around. People who were hurt were being moved on stretchers by emergency workers. People walking around and emergency workers were also seen giving CPR to people who were lying in the streets.
Absolute scenes of chaos in Itaewon right now as the Halloween night has turned into a major safety hazard with at least several party-goers being carried into ambulances. pic.twitter.com/JqVpbYiFrv
— Hyunsu Yim (@hyunsuinseoul) October 29, 2022
In one part, paramedics could be seen checking on at least a dozen people who were lying still under blue blankets.
Police said that dozens of people were getting CPR on the streets of Itaewon. They were doing this because they wanted to get the injured to hospitals across the city as quickly as possible. People in the area were told by emergency text messages from the Seoul Metropolitan Government to get back home quickly.
A local police officer said that he had also heard that a stampede happened on the streets of Itaewon, where a large group of people had gathered to celebrate Halloween. The officer asked to remain anonymous because the details of what happened were still being looked into.
Local news outlets had said earlier that the crowding happened because a lot of people rushed to an Itaewon bar after hearing that an unknown celebrity had been there.
South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol said in a statement that people who were hurt should be treated quickly and that the safety of the celebration sites should be looked at. He also told the Health Ministry to send out disaster medical assistance teams as soon as possible and make sure there are beds for the injured in nearby hospitals.
Local media said that around 100,000 people went to the streets of Itaewon to celebrate Halloween. These events were the biggest since the start of the pandemic because COVID-19 restrictions have been loosened in recent months.
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