At least 153 people have been killed and 150 others injured after a stampede broke out during Halloween celebrations in Seoul, South Korea.
The crowd crush happened in the narrow alleys of Itaewon, Seoul’s nightlife district, on the evening of Saturday Oct. 29, when as many as 100,000 people had been out to celebrate Halloween, according to local media estimates.
Kim Seo-jeong, a 17-year-old woman who survived the crush, told the New York Times that the alley was very crowded when she and her friend entered and they struggled to move.
“There were people pushing from behind us. There were people in front of us pushing down the hill to go in the other direction,” she said.
“A person in front of me slipped and fell, pushing me down as well. People behind me fell like dominoes,” she said.
“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,” she said.
“People kept pushing down into a downhill club alley, resulting in other people screaming and falling down like dominos. I thought I would be crushed to death too as people kept pushing without realising there were people falling down at the start of the stampede,” a witness tweeted, according to the Guardian.
Most of the people who died were teenagers or in their 20s, authorities said. 97 were women and 54 men.
The accident is one of the deadliest peacetime accidents in South Korea’s recent history, and the death toll is expected to rise as about 20 of the injured are in serious condition.
President Yoon Suk-yeol has declared a state of official national mourning.
He promised a thorough investigation into the cause of the tragedy and improvements to ensure similar accidents don’t happen again in the future.
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