At least 146 people are believed to have been crushed to death during Halloween celebrations in Seoul’s Itaewon district.
“The area is still in chaos and we are trying to figure out the exact number of injured,” said Moon Hyun-joo, an official with the National Fire Service. Reuters news agency.
Local media reported that another 150 people were injured.
Foreign nationals are reportedly among those who have been transferred to nearby hospitals.
A fatal accident on a hill resulted in a person at the top of the hill falling and causing a massive crash.
Earlier, emergency officials said dozens of people had gone into cardiac arrest as revelers flocked to Seoul’s Itaewon district.
Video from the scene shows body bags being placed on the street, paramedics performing CPR, and rescue workers trying to pull people trapped under them.
South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol called an emergency meeting.
In South Korea, local medical officials are likely to only say someone is in “cardiac arrest” until there is an official announcement of death by doctors.
Crowded areas ‘felt unsafe’
The area reportedly had 100,000 revelers celebrating the first outdoor mask-free Halloween event since the pandemic.
In social media messages posted earlier in the evening, some people said they felt unsafe in the Itaewon area because it was so crowded.
According to eyewitness accounts from the area where the crash occurred, the crowd had already surged three hours before the incident.
Rafael Rashid said BBC He arrived in the area around 7pm local time.
“There were obviously so many people here, probably the most I’ve seen in Itaewon, and the crowd was gathering more and more.
“Around 10pm it became clear that there were too many people and something was unraveling at that moment.
“There are tens of thousands of people, the most I have ever seen. So many people had to be squished into the sidewalks and spilled onto the roads they were driving on.”
“At that moment, I heard a large number of fire brigade, ambulance and police trying to push their way through the crowd.
“Nobody really understood what was going on, but there were already several police cars at the scene in front of Itaewon Station, and the police stood on top of the cars and told people to get to the area as soon as possible. I desperately tried to tell him to leave.”
of BBC“I saw a lot of medical staff, a lot of ambulances carrying bodies one after another,” Hosu Lee, who visited the scene, said.
Hosu Lee said there were thousands of people in the crowd and many bodies covered in blue sheets alongside “massive police”.
“A lot of young people gathered here tonight. A lot of people came to parties and clubs in costume. A lot of people I saw were distraught, sad, chaotic scenes,” he said. said.
Photographs and videos showed both first responders and civilians, many of whom appeared to be unconscious in the streets.
In one video, a number of responders can be seen performing CPR on people on a narrow street in the district.
In another instance, emergency responders attempted to extract people from what was believed to be a pile of corpses after a crowd surged.
Another local journalist said an emergency broadcast was sent to all mobile phones in Yongsan-gu, urging citizens to return home as soon as possible, as “an emergency accident occurred near the Hamilton Hotel in Itaewon.”
https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/world/477662/death-toll-rises-to-146-in-south-korea-halloween-crush Death toll rises to 146 in South Korea as Halloween crash