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151 people died in a Halloween crowd rush, leaving South Korea in shock and mourning.

151 people died in a Halloween crowd rush, leaving South Korea in shock and mourning.

As South Korea grieved the loss of at least 151 people, largely in their teens and 20s, who were trapped and crushed after a large Halloween party throng poured down a tight alley in a nightlife zone in Seoul, concerned relatives hurried to hospitals in search of their loved ones.

Witnesses claimed that the Saturday night crowd surge in the Itaewon district resulted in “hell-like” commotion as individuals “dropped on top of each other like dominos.” Witnesses reported that as some people were receiving CPR, blood was coming from their nostrils and mouths, and nearby individuals wearing Halloween costumes continued to sing and dance presumably unaware of the seriousness of the situation.

The country’s worst disaster in recent memory is the crowd surge. It was estimated that tens of thousands of people attended the Halloween celebrations in Itaewon. Witnesses reported that it was nearly hard for rescue personnel and ambulances to quickly access the alley close to the Hamilton Hotel because of how congested the streets were with pedestrians and slowly moving vehicles.

According to Seoul City’s disaster headquarters, 24 of the 104 patients being treated for injuries were in serious condition, raising worries that the death toll would rise.

As of Saturday afternoon, the local administration said that more than 2,600 people had contacted or visited a nearby city office to report missing relatives and get confirmation from officials as to whether or not they were among those hurt or killed in the crash.

Choi Seong-beam chief of Seoul’s Yongsan fire department, whose jurisdiction covers Itaewon, reported that the dead included 19 foreigners. The foreign ministry of South Korea said it had informed the embassies of those nations in Seoul, but it did not confirm the nationalities of the fatalities. At least three Chinese citizens were reportedly killed, according to the Chinese state news agency Xinhua.

The State Department confirmed to CBS News in a statement Saturday night that at least one American was hurt in the rush.

According to Seoul City, the deceased were being housed at 42 hospitals in Seoul and the neighboring province of Gyeonggi. Seoul City also announced that it will instruct crematoriums to burn more remains each day as part of measures to assist with burial activities.

Since the pandemic started, Itaewon has hosted the largest outdoor Halloween celebrations in the nation, with an estimated 100,000 visitors. In recent months, the COVID-19 limits were loosened by the South Korean government.

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On Sunday, South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol issued a proclamation establishing a weeklong period of national mourning and ordered that flags be flown at half-staff in all public buildings and workplaces. Supporting the families of the victims, including their burial arrangements, and the treatment of the injured would be a major priority for his government, Yoon stated during a speech that was broadcast on television.

He also demanded that authorities look into the accident’s root cause and assess the security of other significant cultural and entertainment events to make sure they go off without a hitch.

Yoon went to ttaewon alley where the disaster had place after the speech. Yoon was seen in local TV cameras visiting the trash-filled alley and receiving a briefing from emergency personnel.

What prompted the mob to pour into the small, downhill lane close to the Hamilton Hotel, a popular Seoul nightlife destination, was not immediately apparent. One witness claimed that after being pushed by others, numerous individuals fell and overturned one another “like dominoes.” According to the Seoul-based Hankyoreh newspaper, the survivor, who went by the name of Kim, claimed they were imprisoned for nearly an hour and a half before being freed. During that time, some people yelled “Help me!” and others were gasping for air.

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