At least 146 dead in Seoul Halloween tragedy

Fire officials say that many of the deaths are attributed to people suffering cardiac arrests in a stampede

By Kelly McClure

Nights & Weekends Editor

Published October 29, 2022 4:47PM (EDT)

Emergency services treat injured people after a stampede on October 30, 2022 in Seoul, South Korea.  (Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images)
Emergency services treat injured people after a stampede on October 30, 2022 in Seoul, South Korea. (Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images)

At least 146 people were killed in Seoul, Korea in what's being described as a massive stampede at a Halloween event.

Emergency officials report that the incident occurred when party-goers flooded an alley around 1320 GMT, becoming "unruly and agitated as the evening deepened," according to Reuters

Choi Sung-beom, head of the Yongsan Fire Station, gave a briefing at the scene saying many of the victims were women in their 20s, dozens of whom suffered cardiac arrests while being crushed amidst the pressing crowd.

"It was at least more than 10 times crowded than usual," Moon Ju-young said in a quote to Reuters after escaping with his life.

Another party-goer, overheard in a circulating social media post, screamed out "Oh my God, oh my God, Jesus f**king Christ," as the evening took a deadly turn.

"The area is still chaotic so we are still trying to figure out the exact number of people injured," said Moon Hyun-joo, an official at the National Fire Agency.

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Yongsan Fire Department Chief Choi Seong-bum tells CNN that "1,701 response personnel are on scene, including 517 firefighters, 1,100 police and 70 government workers."

Authorities are still working to identify all of the many victims, and also locate a number of missing people believed to have been at the Halloween celebration that are, as of yet, unaccounted for.

"The reports out of Seoul are heartbreaking," says White House National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan in a statement made on Twitter. "We are thinking about all those who lost loved ones and hoping for a quick recovery for those injured. The United States stands ready to provide the Republic of Korea with any support it needs."

"My deepest condolences to all who lost their loved ones in the tragedy in Seoul or saw them hurt," tweets Anton Gerashchenko, Advisor to the Minister of Internal Affairs of Ukraine along with footage from the tragedy. "May something like that never happen again."

"Truly the scariest halloween of my life—30 down, 400 rescue workers deployed. please avoid itaewon and stay safe," a woman wrote on Twitter in the earlier part of the event, along with footage of crews attempting to help those at the scene.

By Kelly McClure

Kelly McClure is a journalist and fiction writer who lives in New Orleans. She is Salon's Nights and Weekends Editor covering daily news, politics and culture. Her work has been featured in Vulture, The A.V. Club, Vanity Fair, Cosmopolitan, Nylon, Vice, and elsewhere. She is the author of Something is Always Happening Somewhere.

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