At least nine people died and 50 went into cardiac arrest after a stampede at a prominent market in the South Korean capital, Seoul, where crowds gathered to celebrate Halloween, according to videos circulating on news agencies and social media.
Police and firefighters were seen trying to save people in the chaotic scene.
— 이것저것소식들 (@feedforyou11) October 29, 2022
On Saturday night, an estimated crowd of about 100,000 people gathered in the central district of Itaewon, home to hundreds of shops and some particularly narrow streets, local news outlets said.
Ahead of October 31st, after two years of silent celebrations due to Covid restrictions, this is the first Halloween and people are even more excited.
Dozens of people were reported unconscious near a hotel just before midnight local time. korea heraldFire authorities said they had received 81 reports of breathing difficulties as of 11:30 p.m., the report said. Ordinary people have also tried resuscitation – by pressing on the chest to restore the heart – and panic was shown in the video.
Two hours later, news agency PTI reported the death toll, citing officials.
Local media reported that the number of injured could be as high as 100, many of them reportedly women in their 20s.
A fire department official confirmed the incident to AFP, saying more than 140 ambulances had been dispatched to the scene.
— Chloe Park in Seoul 🦋 (@chloepark) October 29, 2022
Hyunsu Yim, Reporter korea heraldtweeted: “Absolute chaos in Itaewon right now as Halloween night has turned into a major safety hazard, with at least a few partygoers being carried into ambulances.”
He also shared two photos.
Itaewon is absolutely in chaos right now, as Halloween night has turned into a major safety hazard, with at least a few partygoers being carried into ambulances. pic.twitter.com/JqVpbYiFrv
— Hyunsu Yim (@hyunsuinseoul) October 29, 2022
He added: “The pictures I’ve seen I don’t think it’s wise to share here, but they’re heartbreaking. I’m sure more details will be revealed later, but for now it’s safe to say tonight will be one of them. The scariest and saddest Halloween night in this country.”
Before the stampede, some Twitter users had been warning people not to come to the area, which was overcrowded and unmanageable.
แปล แปล ว่า จริงจริง จริงจริง แบบ ผนัง ผนัง แม่ลอย ขึ้น มา นี่ นี่ จะ ไป ไป ไป แล้ว แล้ว เจ็บ เจ็บ เจ็บ เจ็บ เจ็บ เจ็บ #รีวิวเกาหลี#เที่ยวเกาหลี#อิแทวอนpic.twitter.com/DFPoLphfXX
— JKL 🐰 (@JKL97ML) October 29, 2022
“Don’t come to Itaewon. It’s almost like death here…my arm is almost broken,” one woman posted in the video.
“All relevant ministries and agencies, headed by the Minister of Public Administration and Safety, should make every effort to provide assistance to victims in a timely manner,” President Yoon Si-yeol said in a statement through a spokesman.