Over 150 perish in stampede at S Korea Halloween party

At least 146 people have been crushed to death and 150 more injured in the South Korean capital of Seoul when a huge crowd attending a Halloween party rushed into an alley holding the event.

Many of those injured in the Saturday night incident in Seoul’s Itaewon district were in serious condition and receiving emergency treatment, said the head of the city’s Yongsan Fire Station, Choi Sung-beom, during a press briefing at the scene.

It was the first Halloween event held in Seoul in three years after the country lifted COVID restrictions and social distancing, Reuters reported, noting that many of the participants were wearing masks and Halloween costumes.

“A number of people fell during a Halloween festival, and we have a large number of casualties,” Choi stated, adding that many of the victims were near a nightclub.

He further emphasized that many of the victims were women in their twenties.

Foreigners were also reported to be among those transferred to nearby hospitals.

Some witnesses described the crowd becoming increasingly unruly and agitated later in the evening, according to the report, which said the melee took place at about 10:20 p.m. local time.

Witnesses described chaotic scenes moments before the stampede, with the police on hand in anticipation of the Halloween event at times having trouble maintaining control of the crowd.

Social media footage showed hundreds of people packed in the narrow, sloped alley crushed and immobile as emergency crews and police officers tried to pull them out.

Other footage showed chaotic scenes of fire authorities and citizens treating dozens of people who appeared to be unconscious.

An unnamed woman who said she was the mother of a survivor said her daughter and others were trapped for more than an hour before being pulled out of the alley.

Authorities said they were investigating the exact cause of the incident. South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol presided over an emergency meeting with senior aides.

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