South Korea’s first ever big Halloween celebration since the end of Covid restrictions turned tragic, when a crowd of nearly 151 crashed to death as they were heading through a narrow alley in a popular nightlife district in Seoul, officials confirmed.
The incident's exact cause is still under investigation, but Choi Seong-bum, chief of the Yongsan-gu Fire Department, called it a "presumed stampede," adding that many people fell and at least 82 were hurt.
According to him, the dead included at least 19 foreign nationals from countries like Iran, Norway, China, and Uzbekistan.
Early morning of Sunday, October 30, South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol called an emergency meeting. Later, he visited the location to hear briefings from emergency personnel.
He declared a time of national mourning "until the handling of the catastrophe is concluded" while addressing the country. Later, according to Prime Minister Han Duck-soo, the mourning period would conclude at midnight on November 5.
On Saturday October 29 night, tens of thousands of revellers descended upon the Itaewon nightclub district to partake in South Korea's first Halloween celebration following the lifting of the crowd restrictions and face mask regulations imposed by the Covid pandemic.
Partygoers were crammed so closely together in the small streets, according to witnesses, that it was difficult to walk around even before the commotion started.
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