December 7, 2022

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Seoul | Halloween | Itaew-on | How the tragedy happened in South Korea that killed 154 people | the world

Panic, crushing, crying, despair, suffocation, death. A true tragedy unfolded Saturday on a narrow street in Seoul’s popular Itaewon neighborhood. At least 154 people died during the celebration laments that . The condition of 33 others is critical.

As CNN found, nearly every weekend, narrow alleys This is itGlowing with neon lights, they are packed with partygoers, seeking out clubs and pubs. But this time the thing went off for a reason.

read more: “People fell like dominoes”: Testimonies describe panic at Seoul Halloween tragedy

On Saturday, tens of thousands of young people, many of them in costumes, descended on the scene The first Halloween party since restrictions were lifted due to the coronavirus pandemic. But panic broke out as the crowd piled into the alley, and some witnesses said they found it difficult to breathe and unable to move. Tragedy followed.

This photo taken on Oct. 29, 2022 shows emergency workers tending to a person caught in the Halloween rush hour in Seoul’s Itaewon district. (Albert RETIEF / AFP).

According to the AFP agency, in practice All deaths have been identified, the majority of which were women (98). Most of them are between the ages of 20 and 30, and 26 hold foreign passports.

See: South Korean president declares national mourning and holds probe into human avalanche that killed 154 on Halloween

They are Iranian (5), Chinese (4), Russian (4), Japanese (2), American (2), as well as Uzbek, a Sri Lankan, a French, an Australian, a Norwegian, a Thai, an Austrian, a Vietnamese and a Kazakh.

A woman collects flowers to pay tribute to victims of the Halloween stampede in Seoul, South Korea on October 31, 2022.  (EFE/JEON HEON-KYUN).
A woman collects flowers to pay tribute to victims of the Halloween stampede in Seoul, South Korea on October 31, 2022. (EFE/JEON HEON-KYUN).

While the Mexican embassy was aware of three Mexican women with minor injuries.

Itaewon neighborhood in Seoul.  (AFP).
Itaewon neighborhood in Seoul. (AFP).

How was the tragedy?

It all happened on a slope A narrow lane 45 meters long and four meters wideItaewon Station Exit 1 connects to World Food Street, just behind the Hamilton Hotel, Spanish newspaper El Mundo explained.

See: ‘I never thought something like this would happen in Korea’: Seoul experiences horror after Halloween stampede

According to testimonies, up to 100,000 people attended This is it to celebrate Halloween.

Police officers inspect the scene two days after a deadly stampede in the Itaewon district of Seoul, South Korea.  (EFE/EPA/YONHAP).
Police officers inspect the scene two days after a deadly stampede in the Itaewon district of Seoul, South Korea. (EFE/EPA/YONHAP).

For the past two years, celebrations have been under supervision due to restrictions imposed by the pandemic.. Gatherings were not allowed, police prevented people from entering crowded areas and face masks were mandatory.

But this October 2022, businesses have been promoting their events for weeks, and the neighborhood has regained its funky face. No more social distancing orders or mandatory mask use.

It was in decline This is it The costumed crowd was stuck there for over an hour and a half. The jostling of those who went up and those who went down ignited a tackle that ended in a stampede and death.

The jam happened 100 meters from the nearest fire station, El Mundo reported. The problem was that it was already too late when the medical personnel entered the market because of the congestion around and inside the market.

Victims after a stampede during the Halloween holiday in Seoul's Itaewon district.  (EFE/EPA/JEON HEON-KYUN).
Victims after a stampede during the Halloween holiday in Seoul’s Itaewon district. (EFE/EPA/JEON HEON-KYUN).

Police said they sent 137 officers to the site on Monday, an increase from previous years.

But local reports focused more on drug use than on crowd control, according to AFP.

This is an avoidable disaster.”, Lee Young-joo, a professor at Seoul University’s fire and disaster department, told YTN television.

Allegations spread on social media that the police did not control the crowd this year and allowed many to gather in the underground station and alley that was the epicenter of the disaster.

“I lived for 10 years This is it Every year there’s a Halloween party, and yesterday’s was no bigger than previous years.”wrote Twitter user @isakchoi312.

“I think the cause of the disaster is (lack of) crowd control”he added.

But the government defended the police plan on Sunday.

“This is not a problem that can be solved by sending in the police or firefighters early.” Interior Minister Lee Chang-min told reporters.

Crowds of people pay their respects at a memorial altar for those killed in the stampede in Seoul.  (Jung Yeon-je / AFP)
Crowds of people pay their respects at a memorial altar for those killed in the stampede in Seoul. (Jung Yeon-je / AFP)

A Mexican witness

Mexican Juliana Valentia Santella, a 23-year-old medical student, is on exchange. South KoreaShe told Efe how she was trapped in the alley for at least 30 minutes, unable to move a muscle from her neck and unable to breathe.

“At one point my feet didn’t touch the ground and there were bodies underneath me. There was a guy who was unconscious and he crushed me and my legs were so crushed I couldn’t feel them. I swore I was going to lose my legs at some point and they were going to break them.he told EFE.

She and her friend, a Mexican, were able to recover from the alley, but now they are facing physical consequences and no one has yet spoken to them about psychological help.

South Korea A team of 475 troops has been set up to investigate the event, which has so far interviewed 44 witnesses and is analyzing 52 pieces of footage from 42 different security cameras and videos uploaded to social networks. The neighborhood and the aforementioned alley, which connects this road with Itaewon, is the main avenue in the area.

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