At least 120 people were killed and 100 injured after being crushed at a large Halloween crowd in Seoul Saturday night, the city’s fire department said. The surge of crowds occurred during one of the most boisterous celebrations of the year in the South Korean capital.
Of those confirmed dead, 46 were in hospital, the fire department said, with the rest taken to a nearby gymnasium.
President Yoon Seok Yeol has ordered his government to send emergency aid and medical assistance to the scene – in the famous nightlife district of Itaewon in the city center – His office said in a statement that after being informed of “several injuries”.
The office of the mayor of Seoul, Oh Se-hoon, who was on a visit to the Netherlands, said he was returning to South Korea.
Pictures published by local media showed citizens, police officers and emergency medical workers performing cardiopulmonary resuscitation on the sidewalk. Live footage on local MBC-TV showed firefighters carrying what looked like corpses covered in white sheets on stretchers to ambulances.
Local media said Itaewon’s narrow alleys were packed with up to 100,000 people for Halloween celebrations on Saturday night. Earlier today, large protests blocked city traffic in the area.
A witness said the stampede occurred when crowds rushed into a narrow alley.
“People kept pushing and crushing more people,” the witness said. Wrote on Twitter. “People who were crushed under the crowd were crying and I thought I would be crushed to death too, breathing through a hole and crying for help.”
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