What seemed to be a night of celebration in Seoul for the Halloween holiday turned into a tragedy, after a human stampede left hundreds dead and injured in the South Korean capital. At least 149 people died Y 150 were injured in a serious human avalanche occurred during a party in the Itaewon neighborhood. “At 10:46 p.m. (2:46 p.m. Spanish peninsular time) on October 29 there was an accident due to overcrowding near the Hamilton Hotel. The number of victims is estimated at more than a hundred,” reported the Central Office for Disasters and Security of the South Korean Ministry of the Interior, quoted by the South Korean press. Health authorities have indicated that most of the deceased were young people around 20 years of age. There are also foreigners among the victims, they specified.
According to the South Korean news agency Yonhap, the emergency services received more than 80 warning calls from the area of the Hotel Hamilton, very close to where the catastrophe took place, due to respiratory difficulties. According to the authorities, more than 100,000 people gathered in the Itaewon neighborhood, known for its Halloween celebrations, and thousands of people gathered in its narrow streets.
The Seoul Metropolitan Police has already opened an investigation to find out the causes of this avalanche. Although details are not yet known, local media say that a large number of people began to push others in a narrow alley on a slope, causing hundreds of them to fall to the ground in an avalanche. Police and firefighters moved to the scene and, according to the newspaper ‘Hangyore Sinmun’, began to move “dozens” of bodies of the first deceased in the catastrophe.
bodies in the streets
Firefighters activated a level three response at 11:50 p.m. local time and dispatched personnel to the area, where a field hospital was set up with support from the Seoul National University Hospital, Kyunghee University Hospital and Hanyang University Hospital. At least 142 emergency vehicles including ambulances and fire trucks were dispatched to the scene. The photos and videos that spread through social networks show dozens of lifeless bodies lying on the ground and covered by blankets and towels. Rescuers could also be seen giving heart massages to some of them and policemen in yellow vests cordoning off the area and rescuers carrying some victims on stretchers to ambulances.
An eyewitness quoted by local media Yonhap explained that “suddenly everyone fell and the people who were below were crushed.”
South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol convened his cabinet in an emergency, ordering first aid teams to be sent to the scene and asking hospitals to prepare to receive the wounded. For his part, Seoul Mayor Oh Se-hoon, who was touring Europe, decided to return to the South Korean capital immediately after the accident, according to municipal authorities.