NewsSouth Korea: At least 146 dead and around 150...

South Korea: At least 146 dead and around 150 injured in stampede in Seoul

Created: 10/29/2022, 10:18 p.m

Tote und Verletzte bei Halloween-Feiern in Südkorea
Rescue workers, firefighters and police officers are on the road near the scene of the accident. © Lee Jin-Man/dpa

In a nightlife district of the South Korean capital, celebrations culminate in one of the greatest tragedies in the country’s recent history.

According to recent reports, at least 146 people have been killed and around 150 others injured in a stampede in the South Korean capital Seoul. Many victims were trampled to death, said a fire department spokesman on Sunday night (local time). Thousands of people had crowded the narrow streets of the Itaewon neighborhood for the first Halloween celebrations since the start of the 2020 coronavirus pandemic. A mass panic broke out around 10:20 p.m.

Initially, the fire department had spoken of dozens of people with cardiac arrest. Photos and videos showed people lying on the ground being cared for by rescue workers. According to the fire department, more than 140 ambulances were on site. Police officers cordoned off the scene of the accident in the popular nightlife area. President Yoon Suk Yeol ordered hospital beds to be vacated as soon as possible.

Stampede in Seoul: “People layered as if in a grave”

The South Korean news agency Yonhap quoted an eyewitness who wished to remain anonymous. “People were layered on top of each other like in a tomb,” the witness described the scenes. “Some gradually lost consciousness, while others looked dead by that point.”

Mass panic in Seoul: causes of the tragedy still unclear

The Halloween festival coming from the USA is actually celebrated on the night of October 31st to November 1st. It goes back to a Celtic custom, according to which evil spirits should be driven away at the beginning of the dark season.

President Yoon Suk-yeol chaired an emergency meeting on Sunday night. Before that, he ordered more emergency personnel to be sent to the area and hospital beds to be prepared. According to Yonhap, Seoul Mayor Oh Se-hoon, who is currently visiting Europe, has canceled all scheduled meetings and announced his immediate return. The exact causes of the tragedy were initially unclear. (skr/afp/dpa)

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