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Wednesday 6 December 2023 Dublin: 5°C
Lee Ji-eun/Yonhap via AP Rescue workers and firefighters work on the scene of a crushing accident in Seoul, South Korea
South Korea

Over 145 people killed and 150 injured in crush in central Seoul during Halloween celebrations

Police also confirmed that dozens of people were being given CPR on Itaewon streets while many others have been taken to nearby hospitals.

LAST UPDATE | Oct 29th 2022, 8:28 PM

MORE THAN 140 people have died and 150 have been injured in the South Korean capital Seoul, after thousands of people crowded into narrow streets in the city’s Itaewon neighbourhood to celebrate Halloween.

Earlier figures had placed the figure at 100 injured during a crowd surge in the Itaewon leisure district, and that around 50 of these people were being treated for cardiac arrest.

But authorities have confirmed that the death toll was far higher after the crush which took place at about 10pm local-time. 

“As of 4am, 146 have been killed and 150 have been injured,” fire official Choi Seong-beom told reporters at the scene.

Fire department officials said it was believed that people were crushed to death after a large crowd began pushing forward in a narrow alley near Hamilton Hotel, a major party spot in Seoul.

More than 400 emergency workers from around the nation, including practically all available personnel in Seoul, were deployed to the streets to treat the injured.

Video on social media showed first responders administering CPR on multiple people lying in the street.

Police also confirmed that dozens of people were being given CPR on Itaewon streets while many others have been taken to nearby hospitals.

The officer requested anonymity, saying the details of the incident was still under investigation.

Choi said the crush took place around 10 pm local-time and many of the victims were trampled to death.

“The high number of casualties was the result of many being trampled during the Halloween event,” Choi said, adding that the death toll could climb.

The Yonhap news agency quoted an unidentified witness as saying he saw victims crushed to death.

“People were layered on top of others like a tomb. Some were gradually losing their consciousness while some looked dead by that point,” the witness said, according to Yonhap.

Choi added that 74 bodies were sent to local hospitals and 46 were put in a nearby gym.

Some local media reports earlier said the crush happened after a large number of people rushed to an Itaewon bar after hearing an unidentified celebrity visited there.

South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol issued a statement calling for officials to ensure swift treatment for those injured and review the safety of the festivity sites.

He also instructed the Health Ministry to swiftly deploy disaster medical assistance teams and secure beds in nearby hospital to treat the injured.

This year’s Halloween is the first celebration of the event at which South Koreans have not been mandated to wear face masks outdoors since the pandemic broke out in 2020.

With reporting by AFP

Press Association
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