Officials in Seoul, South Korea, have confirmed that at least 146 people have been killed and 150 injured in an uncontrolled stampede that occurred in a busy part of the capital city where thousands had gathered for a Halloween celebration.
Seoul Fire Department Chief Choi Seong-beom confirmed the death toll and said the number could grow as first responders were still transporting injured people to local hospitals late on Saturday night.
Dozens in South Korea in cardiac arrest after Seoul crowd surge during Halloween festivities, officials say https://t.co/HzFj74yD3c
— Fox News (@FoxNews) October 29, 2022
Chaos erupted during the outdoor gathering around 10:20 p.m. local time near the Hamilton Hotel. A large crowd began pushing forward through a narrow alleyway near the hotel, a popular party spot in the city.
South Korean National Fire Agency spokesperson Choi Cheon-sik said many of the persons killed had been at a nearby nightclub and were trampled when they fell down during the outdoor festival. Cheon-sik also confirmed that more than 400 emergency workers and 140 vehicles were dispatched to the scene to restore order and treat the injured.
Moon Hyun-joo, also with the National Fire Agency, said the exact number of injured persons could take a while to determine, as the area was “still chaotic.” Dozens of people were given emergency cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) on the streets before being transported to various hospitals.
In addition to the injured, there were so many dead bodies at the scene they had to be transported to a nearby gymnasium to be safely identified.
Michelle Ye-hee with the Washington Post’s Seoul bureau posted on Twitter that as late as 4:25 a.m. Sunday morning the identification of bodies was only getting started. She also confirmed that city officials had been compiling a roster all morning of people calling in search of missing loved ones.
South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol ordered that disaster medical teams be deployed to local hospitals to assist in the treatment of those injured.
The initial cause of the stampede was still unconfirmed and under investigation on Sunday morning. It was reported that the crowd went out of control as many people rushed to see an unidentified celebrity at a bar in the vicinity of the stampede.
The Halloween celebration reportedly drew a crowd of more than 100,000 to the streets of Seoul. The gathering was thought to be the largest public assembly in the city since officials began loosening restrictions imposed during the COVID-19 pandemic.