SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — A mass of largely younger individuals celebrating Halloween festivities in Seoul turned trapped and crushed as the group surged right into a slim alley, killing no less than 146 individuals and injuring 150 others in South Korea’s worst catastrophe in years.
Emergency employees and pedestrians desperately carried out CPR on individuals mendacity within the streets after the crush within the capital’s leisure district of Itaewon Saturday night time.
Choi Seong-beom, chief of Seoul’s Yongsan hearth division, mentioned the demise toll may rise additional and that an unspecified quantity among the many injured had been in crucial situation.
An estimated 100,000 individuals had gathered in Itaewon for the nation’s largest out of doors Halloween festivities for the reason that pandemic started. The South Korean authorities eased COVID-19 restrictions in latest months. Itaewon, close to the place the previous headquarters of U.S. army forces in South Korea operated earlier than transferring out of the capital in 2018, is thought for its fashionable bars, golf equipment and eating places.
It was not instantly clear what led the group to surge into the slim downhill alley close to the Hamilton Resort, a serious celebration spot in Seoul. One survivor mentioned many individuals fell and toppled each other “like dominos” after they had been being pushed by others. The survivor, surnamed Kim, mentioned they had been trapped for about an hour and a half earlier than being rescued, as some individuals shouted “Help me!” and others had been in need of breath, in line with the Seoul-based Hankyoreh newspaper.
One other survivor, named Lee Chang-kyu, mentioned he noticed about 5 to 6 males push others earlier than one or two started falling, in line with the newspaper.
In an interview with information channel YTN, Hwang Min-hyeok, a customer to Itaewon, mentioned it was surprising to see rows of our bodies close to the lodge. He mentioned emergency employees had been initially overwhelmed, leaving pedestrians struggling to manage CPR to the injured mendacity on the streets. Individuals wailed beside the our bodies of their associates, he mentioned.
One other survivor in his 20s mentioned he prevented being trampled by managing to get right into a bar whose door was open on the alley, Yonhap information company reported. A lady in her 20s surnamed Park informed Yonhap that she and others had been standing alongside the aspect of the alley whereas others caught in the midst of the alley had no escape.
Choi, the fireplace division chief, mentioned that our bodies had been being despatched to hospitals or a health club, the place bereaved members of the family may establish them. He mentioned many of the useless and injured are of their 20s.
“Horrific news from Seoul tonight,” British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak tweeted. “All our thoughts are with those currently responding and all South Koreans at this very distressing time.”
Jake Sullivan, the U.S. nationwide safety adviser, tweeted that stories of the catastrophe had been “heartbreaking” and mentioned Washington “stands ready to provide the Republic of Korea with any support it needs.”
The final South Korean catastrophe this lethal additionally hit younger individuals the toughest. In April 2014, 304 individuals, largely highschool college students, died in a ferry sinking. The sinking uncovered lax security guidelines and regulatory failures; it was partially blamed on extreme and poorly mounted cargo and a crew poorly educated for emergency conditions. Saturday’s deaths will possible draw public scrutiny of what authorities officers have carried out to enhance public security requirements for the reason that ferry catastrophe.
It was additionally Asia’s second main crushing catastrophe in a month. On Oct. 1, police in Indonesia fired tear gasoline at a soccer match, inflicting a crush that killed 132 individuals as spectators tried to flee.
Greater than 1,700 response personnel from throughout the nation had been deployed to the streets to assist the wounded, together with about 520 firefighters, 1,100 cops and 70 authorities employees. The Nationwide Fireplace Company individually mentioned in a press release that officers had been nonetheless making an attempt to find out the precise variety of emergency sufferers.
South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol issued a press release calling for officers to make sure swift remedy for these injured and evaluate the protection of the festivity websites.
This was the deadliest crushing catastrophe in South Korean historical past. In 2005, 11 individuals had been killed and round 60 others had been injured at a pop live performance within the southern metropolis of Sangju.