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HomeNewsSeoul Stampede: Death toll rises to 151; world leaders express condolences

Seoul Stampede: Death toll rises to 151; world leaders express condolences

On Saturday night, a large crowd celebrating Halloween surged into an alley in a nightlife area of the South Korean capital Seoul, killing mostly young adults in their 20s.

Also Read: Halloween horror in South Korea: How stampede killed hundreds in Seoul. 10 points

After COVID restrictions and social distance were lifted, this was Seoul’s first Halloween celebration in three years. Halloween costumes and masks were worn by many partygoers.

As the evening progressed, some witnesses stated that the crowd became increasingly disorderly and agitated. The incident took place at about 10:20 p.m. (1320 GMT).

Many of the victims were women in their twenties.

Witnesses described tumultuous scenes just prior to the stampede, with the police, who were present in anticipation of the Halloween event, at times having difficulty controlling the crow.

The footage shared on social media showed hundreds of people crammed into the narrow, sloped alley and rendered helpless as emergency personnel and police attempted to free them.

Leaders across the world have sent their condolences to the victims and their families.

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar expressed his condolences to the families of those who lost their lives in the horrific Seoul Halloween stampede and said India stands in solidarity with South Korea during this difficult time.

Taking to Twitter, Jaishankar said, “Deeply shocked at the loss of so many young lives due to the stampede in Seoul. Our condolences to the families of those who lost their dear ones. We stand in solidarity with the Republic of Korea during this difficult time.”

Rishi Sunak, the newly elected UK PM wrote, “All our thoughts are with those currently responding and all South Koreans at this very distressing time.”

US President Joe Biden said in a tweet, “Jill and I send our deepest condolences to the families who lost loved ones in Seoul. We grieve with the people of the Republic of Korea and send our best wishes for a quick recovery to all those who were injured.” he wrote.

Canada PM Justin Trudeau also wished speedy recovery to the injured.

In a Tweet, he wrote, On behalf of Canadians, I’m sending my deepest condolences to the people of South Korea today, following a deadly stampede in Seoul. I’m thinking of everyone affected by this tragedy, and wishing a fast and full recovery to those who were injured.”

French President Emmanuel Macron also offered his support to South Korea. “Heartfelt thoughts for the residents of Seoul and the Korean people after the tragedy at Itaewon. France is by your side.”

Earlier, South Korea’s President Yoon Suk-yeol said that a stampede at a Halloween event that killed at least 149 people and injured scores more “should not have happened.” “In the centre of Seoul, a tragedy and disaster occurred that should not have happened,” Yoon said in a national address, vowing to “thoroughly investigate” the incident and ensure it could never happen again.

The victims in their 20s accounted for the age group most affected by the horrific Seoul Halloween stampede. Moreover, Seoul metropolitan government, said on Sunday that it has received about 270 reports of missing persons related to the deadly stampede during Halloween parties in the Itaewon district.

The incident reportedly occurred when a large group of people rushed to an Itaewon bar after hearing an unidentified celebrity was visiting 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 many rescue officials performing CPR on people lying in poor condition on the streets.

The packed Halloween festivities in South Korea’s capital of Seoul took place after Covid restrictions were removed, the local officials said. The festivities marked the participation of more than a lakh visitors and the number of casualties is only expected to rise.

“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.

“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 neighbourhood in Seoul to bring the situation under control.

(With inputs from agencies)

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