“People fell piled on top of each other as in a tomb.”
At least 146 people were killed and 150 injured on Saturday in a stampede of thousands of people who gathered in the narrow streets of a neighborhood in Seoul, the capital of South Korea, to celebrate Halloween.
« Until 4:00 [del domingo]An official from the fire department, Choi Seong-beom, told the press at the scene that 146 people had died and 150 were injured.
Choi explained, “The high number of casualties was due to Many were run over during the Halloween event.” He predicted that the death toll could rise. The bodies of the victims were taken to a nearby hospital or gym.
Yonhap news agency quoted a witness who recounted horrific scenes of what happened: “People fell stacked on top of each other like in a tomb. Some gradually lost consciousness and others appeared to be dead at that time.”
The accident occurred near the Hamilton Hotel in the popular Itaewon neighborhood, as thousands of people crowded its narrow streets to celebrate Halloween.
South Korea’s Yonhap news agency said the disaster occurred at 10:22 p.m. local time (1:22 p.m. GMT), which it attributed to a possible stampede. More than 140 ambulances have been sent to the scene to treat the injured.
Initially, firefighters reported that about 50 people were receiving treatment after experiencing cardiac arrest, a term used by South Korean rescue services until a doctor officially declares a person dead.
South Korean President Yoon Seok-yeol ordered first aid teams to be dispatched to the scene and asked hospitals to prepare to receive the wounded.
First Halloween since the pandemic
Pictures published by the South Korean agency showed that more than a dozen people were lying in a street and rescue workers were doing heart massages for each other.
In other videotaped images, about 20 bodies can be seen covered with blankets. Police in yellow jackets cordoned off the area and rescuers carried some of the victims on stretchers to ambulances.
Seoul Mayor Oh Se-hoon was in Europe and decided to return to South Korea, according to Yonhap Agency. This is the first time that Halloween has been celebrated in the Asian country since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.