146 dead after Halloween festival spike in Seoul, officials say

Rescue teams work at the scene where dozens of people were injured in a stampede during the Halloween festival in Seoul, South Korea, October 29, 2022.

Kim Hong-ji | Reuters

At least 146 people were killed and 150 others injured when shoved by crowds on a narrow street during Halloween celebrations in the capital Seoul, South Korean officials said.

Choi Seong-beom, director of Seoul’s Yongsan fire department, said the death toll could rise and an unspecified number of those injured were in critical condition following a stampede in Itaewon late last night. Saturday.

Officials say people were crushed to death after a crowd began shoving forward in a narrow alley near the Hamilton Hotel, a major party spot in Seoul.

More than 800 emergency personnel and police officers from all over the country, including all existing personnel in Seoul, were deployed to the streets to treat the injured.

The National Fire Service said separately in a statement that officials were still trying to determine the exact number of emergency patients.

Television footage and images showed ambulances lining the streets as crowded police and emergency workers moved injured people on stretchers. Emergency workers and pedestrians were also seen performing CPR on people lying on the street.

In one section, paramedics were seen checking the condition of dozens or more people lying motionless under blue blankets.

Police, which are restricting traffic in nearby areas to expedite the transport of the injured to hospitals across the city, also confirmed that dozens of people were being given CPR on the streets. Itaewon Street. The Seoul Metropolitan Government issued an urgent message urging people in the area to quickly return home.

Some local media reported earlier that the fight broke out after a large number of people flocked to an Itaewon bar after hearing that an unidentified celebrity was visiting there.

South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol issued a statement calling on officials to ensure prompt treatment of the injured and review the safety of festival venues. He also directed the Ministry of Health to quickly deploy disaster medical assistance teams and secure hospital beds nearby to treat the injured.

Local media say about 100,000 people have flocked to the streets of Itaewon for Halloween, the biggest festival since the start of the pandemic after the easing of COVID-19 restrictions in recent months.


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