The death toll in South Korea Halloween stampede has risen to 149, with 150 injured, Yonhap news agency reported citing authorities.
Several people are injured in an apparent crowd surge during packed Halloween festivities in South Korea’s capital of Seoul which took place after covid restrictions were removed, the local officials say. The festivities marked the participation of more than a lakh visitors and the number of casualties is only expected to rise. The stampede occurred after a huge crowd flocked into the central district of the South Korean capital to celebrate Halloween, which was the biggest in years following the easing of COVID-19 restrictions.
Emergency officials received at least 81 calls from people with breathing difficulty, “South Korea’s Yonhap News Agency reported.
A large crowd pushed forward on a narrow street during Halloween festivities, resulting in dozens needing first aid. South Korea’s President Yoon Suk-yeol ordered the dispatch of the emergency medical team to the area and said hospital beds should be prepared to minimize casualties, his office said.
Numerous people had trouble breathing when the chaotic stampede occurred as dozens were seen giving CPR to people lying lifeless on streets post-incident.
South Korean President Yoon Suk-Yeol presided over an emergency response meeting Sunday over the deadly stampede, as per the officials.
The incident reportedly occurred after a large group of people rushed to an Itaewon bar after hearing an unidentified celebrity visited there, Al Jazeera reported citing the local media. Social media footage showed several people being assisted by rescue officials and private citizens at the scene, and numerous ones performing CPR on people lying in poor condition on the streets.
“The death toll could grow as emergency workers continued to transport the injured to hospitals across Seoul following the crowd crush in the entertainment district of Itaewon on Saturday night, chief of Seoul’s Yongsan fire department, Choi Seong-beom said in a statement.
“Shortly after the accident, Yoon came to the presidential office in Yongsan and presided over a response meeting related to the Seoul Itaewon Halloween accident,” the presidential office said.
“The top priority is transporting and rescuing the patients and providing prompt medical treatment for the affected people,” local media reported quoting Yoon as saying.
Authorities are still looking into the exact cause of the accident as the investigation is underway.
Emergency forces were dispatched following the crowd surge which resulted in fatalities. Firefighters and police officers also reached the Itaewon neighborhood in Seoul to bring the situation under control.