Halloween celebration in Seoul turns deadly


October 29, in Itaewon, a downtown district of Seoul, South Korea around 100,000 people gathered on the streets of Itaewon for a Halloween celebration. The narrow streets and alleys became increasingly crowded, becoming so intense that people were being crushed together from all sides. Over 100 people were injured, and at least 154 people died in the crush. 

In one particular alley off the main road, it was so crowded that people couldn’t make their way out due to crowds at both ends of the alley. People were being crushed to the point where they couldn’t breathe, and many fell over during the chaos. The alley being located on a slope made people fall more easily. Members of the crowd yelled for help, and some reportedly even tried to climb buildings to get out of the crowd. 

Many party-goers made emergency calls, but police were slow to respond at first. According to the BBC, officers were dispatched for only four of eleven emergency calls placed. However as the situation worsened, more emergency officers, medical teams, and ambulances were deployed. The ambulances lined up in the street in front of the main alley where people were trapped. 

Dead bodies and the injured lined the streets, with party-goers having to administer CPR on those who went into cardiac arrest, as there were not enough medical professionals to handle the situation. 

  Since that night, memorials have been set up on the streets of Itaewon, with people gathering to mourn those who passed. The president of South Korea, Yoon Suk-yeol, declared a period of national mourning. He also announced an investigation to understand how the event got so dangerous.

 Police collected the items that people lost in the crowd. They lined up all the missing items in a badminton court in Seoul, hoping that the owners of the items would return to claim them. There are many pairs of shoes and jackets lined up, having been lost amidst the chaos. Many residents call the images haunting, knowing that many missing items will never be claimed by their owners.