‘Like a hell’: Relatives search for loved ones in Seoul after Halloween crowd surge leaves 153 dead

Written by on October 30, 2022

Kinfolk desperately looked for solutions in regards to the standing of lacking family members Sunday after a crowd surge in Seoul’s nightlife district left at least 153 people dead and 133 injured over the weekend.

Halloween revelers swelled right into a slender alley within the metropolis’s Itaewon space Saturday night time, leaving dozens of younger folks trampled and crushed on the road. Pedestrians and emergency officers administered CPR in makes an attempt to help these in cardiac arrest on the bottom.

Hundreds of individuals have contacted or visited metropolis workplaces to report lacking family and ask officers to substantiate whether or not they had been amongst these injured or useless, authorities mentioned Sunday.

Two U.S. residents had been amongst these useless and three others had been injured within the incident, the U.S. State Division confirmed Sunday in an announcement to USA TODAY.

It was not instantly clear what led the gang to surge into the road. South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol on Sunday referred to as for officers to totally examine the reason for the accident and assessment the protection of different massive occasions within the wake of the tragedy.

This is what we all know.

South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol, center left, visits the scene where dozens of people died and were injured in Seoul, South Korea, Sunday, Oct. 30, 2022, after a mass of mostly young people celebrating Halloween festivities became trapped and crushed as the crowd surged into a narrow alley.

Witnesses describe the chaos: ‘It was like a hell’

Grant Hauck informed USA TODAY he ran a mile towards the scene of the surge when he heard in regards to the accidents in an try to assist these injured utilizing his emergency medical service, or EMS, expertise from faculty. Upon arrival, he discovered a number of our bodies on the street and a number of folks making an attempt to assist.

“I flip the nook to the principle road and there’s two or three ambulances, a fireplace truck and within the center are like 5 – 6 our bodies on the bottom on one facet of the road,” Hauck mentioned.

Hauck mentioned he assisted folks administering CPR, ensuring their approach was proper. He pumped the chests of two injured folks himself.

Hauck, a member of the family of a USA TODAY staffer, mentioned he was “instantly overwhelmed” by the “mass trauma” occasion.

Different witnesses mentioned the gang surge triggered “a hell-like” chaos as folks fell on one another “like dominoes.” Some folks bled from their noses and mouths whereas being given CPR, witnesses mentioned, whereas others appeared to proceed to celebration close by with out noticing.

“I nonetheless can’t imagine what has occurred. It was like a hell,” mentioned Kim Mi Sung, who additionally carried out CPR to a number of victims on the scene.

Ken Fallas, a witness who used his smartphone to movie video displaying unconscious folks being carried out from the alley, mentioned the loud music made the surge much more chaotic.

 “We didn’t hear something as a result of the music was actually loud. Now, I believe that was one of many essential issues that made this so difficult,” Fallas mentioned.

What occurred in Seoul?

Officers imagine that tens of hundreds of younger folks gathered within the space Saturday to rejoice Halloween – one of many largest gatherings within the metropolis following the nation’s discount of its COVID-19 restrictions this yr.

It is unclear what led to the gang surge, however some mentioned many individuals fell and toppled each other after they had been pushed by others. A survivor, Lee Chang-kyu, mentioned he noticed about 5 – 6 males push others earlier than one or two started falling, in accordance with the Seoul-based Hankyoreh newspaper.

Ninety-seven of the useless had been ladies and 56 had been males, the Ministry of the Inside and Security reported Sunday. Greater than 80% of the useless are of their 20s and 30s, and no less than 4 had been youngsters. 

Twenty foreigners died within the stampede, in accordance with the Inside Ministry: 4 had been from China; three from Russia; two from Iran; and one every from Vietnam, Austria, Norway, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan and Sri Lanka.

President Joe Biden provided condolences to the households of the 2 People killed within the crowd surge in a statement Sunday.

The demise toll is more likely to proceed to rise as 37 of the injured folks had been nonetheless in severe situation Sunday, in accordance with South Korea’s Ministry of the Inside and Security.

Itaewon, a hilly neighborhood in Seoul that was beforehand close to an American army base, is a well-liked space for vacationers and overseas residents due to its nightclubs, bars and eating places.

WHAT WENT WRONG AT ASTROWORLD’S CROWD SURGE?:Expert: It took ‘everything going wrong, like dominoes’

Crowd surge deadliest in nation’s historical past

A crowd surge can happen at festivals, concert events and huge occasions when attendees collectively push ahead, resulting in massive teams of individuals falling, shoving or being pressured to maneuver previous barricades.

The Seoul incident is the nation’s worst catastrophe in years and the deadliest crushing catastrophe in South Korean historical past.

The catastrophe can be the second in a decade largely affecting younger folks: In 2014, a ferry that sunk off South Korea’s southern coast led to 304 deaths, largely of highschool college students. The ferry catastrophe uncovered regulatory failures and led to criticism of lax security guidelines.

Earlier this month a riot at a soccer match in Indonesia that triggered panic and a chaotic flee for exits led to the deaths of 132 people, most of whom had been trampled or suffocated. 

Contributing: Claire Thornton and Joel Shannon, USA TODAY; The Related Press

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