On October 29, an emergency situation broke out in Itaewon, Korea, as emergency officials were called to help people suffering from cardiac arrest. Since then, there have been 146 confirmed deaths and 100 people injured from what has been verified as a massive stampede at a Halloween event.
The head firefighter of Yongsan Fire Station commented that “the number of casualties will rise, as some of the rescued individuals who have been hospitalized are in critical condition.” Currently, emergency officials are searching for additional rescues.
According to a briefing from the South Korean National Fire Agency, the first report of the emergency was at 10:22 P.M. This emergency occurred in the alleyway next to the Hamilton Hotel in Itaewon. Reportedly, over 100,000+ individuals had gathered in the area, including the crowd coming out of the hotel and the crowd coming out of Itaewon subway station Exit 1 and 2.
MBC has since confirmed that the alleyway of Itaewon-ro, next to the Hamilton Hotel was the location of the stampede. Notably, the alleyway has a slight grade.
MBC has also reported, based on the claims made by witnesses in the area, that the crowd began to form when “a celebrity” appeared in one of the establishments around the alleyway.
Reportedly over 142 firefighting vehicles were mobilized to handle the emergency situation.
Just East of Itaewon station, the streets have been blocked off entirely; The traffic is unable to move in any direction due to the large number of emergency vehicles trying to get to the scene.
People taking the subway also dealt with extreme congestion while trying to leave Itaewon safely.
At the time of the incident, bystanders shared disturbing videos of the emergency, with many people lying on the ground receiving CPR while others were carried into the ambulances.
In response to the crisis, President Yoon Suk Yeol ordered officials to administer first aid, and Prime Minister Han Duck Soo told officials to do their best to minimize damages. Seoul’s mayor, Oh Se Hoon, was visiting Europe but reportedly decided to return to Seoul after receiving word of what happened.