What We Know About Deadly Crowd Crush in Seoul

More than 150 Halloween revelers died in Itaewon district, and most were young women
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 30, 2022 6:56 AM CDT
Most Victims of Crowd Crush in Seoul Were Young Women
South Korean police officers stand guard at the scene of the deadly stampede.   (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)

The scale of the tragedy from a deadly crowd crush in Seoul continues to rise, with at least 153 dead and dozens more injured, some critically. As authorities attempt to identify the victims and investigate what led to the crush, harrowing accounts of survivors and eyewitnesses have emerged. Coverage:

  • The crush: It happened Saturday night in Seoul's popular nightlife district of Itaewon, per the BBC. Halloween revelers, mostly young adults, jammed the area, and the crush occurred in a narrow downhill alley lined with bars.
  • Victims: Most of those who died were in their teens and 20s, and women "significantly" outnumbered men, reports the New York Times. At least one American, so far unidentified, is among the 20 foreigners estimated to have been killed, per the Washington Post.

  • 'Push! Push!': Kim Seo-jeong, 17, tells the Times she and a friend could barely move in the throng when a group of young men began chanting "Push! Push!" in the alley. “A person in front of me slipped and fell, pushing me down as well. People behind me fell like dominoes,” she says. “There were people beneath me and people falling on top of me. I could hardly breathe. We shouted and screamed for help, but the music was so loud in the alley our shouts were drowned.” Others pulled Kim and a friend into a bar and saved them.
  • Similar account: Another survivor recalls seeing five or six young men began pushing others, causing the first people to fall, per the AP. Soon, panic spread, and victims were trampled. Eyewitnesses say there was minimal police presence for crowd control ahead of the crush. Afterward, the mass of people made it difficult for emergency responders and vehicles to help. Witnesses describe watching fruitless efforts at CPR.
  • Halloween: It's not a traditional holiday in South Korea, but it's become increasingly popular in recent years, especially among young revelers, explains the AP. In fact, many of the victims were wearing costumes. The Itaewon district has in recent years become the prime destination for Halloween celebrations. The problem is that "it was at least 10 times more crowded than usual,” Moon Ju-young, 21, tells Reuters.
(More Seoul stories.)

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