South Korea Halloween stampede: Crush kills at least 149 in Seoul, leaves several injured


SEOUL: A raucous Halloween celebration in the swinging center of the South Korean capital morphed Saturday night into a grim procession of bodies after at least 149 people were killed in the crush of a crowd stuck in a narrow roadway, officials said.

Another 150 people were injured, said Choi Seong-beom, the chief of Seoul’s Yongsan fire department, many of them seriously.

South Korea's President Yoon Suk-yeol on Sunday declared national mourning period over a stampede during Halloween festivities, saying it was so miserable to see such a disaster happening in the heart of Seoul, the Yonhap news agency reported.


首尔龙山消防队长崔成范(Choi Seong-beom)说,另外还有150人受伤,其中有很多人伤势严重。


As many as 100,000 people were celebrating Halloween in Itaewon, an area of central Seoul popular for its nightlife. The holiday had long been a neighborhood favorite before being interrupted by coronavirus restrictions imposed on the city two years ago, and young people flocked to parties Saturday night.

By Sunday morning, costume-clad partygoers had fled a scene strewn with the bodies of young revelers as chaos and confusion reigned. At news conferences, officials said they had no clear idea of what caused the crush, or how the annual festival had devolved so quickly into the country’s worst peacetime tragedy since 2014.

As images of lifeless bodies piled atop each other and queues of emergency workers pushing gurneys loaded with the dead circulated across social media, Koreans demanded answers and accountability.




Kim Geun-in, a division commander for the Seoul police, said that little could be reported about the cause of the disaster as of 4 a.m. Sunday because “identifying the victims is our top priority.” He added: “Our forensic teams are focused on identifying victims and collecting evidence from the site.”

In the early hours of Sunday morning, residents congregated at hospitals and makeshift mortuaries looking for their loved ones. Most of those killed were teenagers or in their 20s, Choi said.? The dead included two foreigners, added Choi, who did not specify their nationalities.

At one ad hoc mortuary, at the Wonhyoro Multipurpose Indoor Gymnasium, just west of Itaewon, the bodies of 45 young people were arrayed on the floor beneath plastic sheets. Many still wore the costumes they had donned for a night of partying, one way distraught relatives would be able to identify them.

首尔警方科长金槿镇(Kim Geun-in,音)表示,截止周日凌晨4点,警方对事故原因还不能发表意见,因为“我们现在的首要任务是确认遇难者身份”。他补充说:“我们的法医团队现在集中精力确认受害者身份,并从现场收集证据。”



Kim Seo-jeong, 17, a high school student who dressed in a traditional Chinese qipao to go clubbing in the area, said that by 8 p.m. the alley near the Itaewon subway station was already too crowded to walk.

“We gave up an hour later and tried to turn around to go home but we could not move in the other direction either,” Kim said in a telephone interview. “There were people pushing from behind us. There were people in front of us pushing down the hill to go in the other direction.”Later, a group of young men made a hard shove down the hill, chanting “Push! Push!”

“A person in front of me slipped and fell, pushing me down as well. People behind me fell like dominoes,” Kim said. “There were people beneath me and people falling on top of me. I could hardly breathe. We shouted and screamed for help, but the music was so loud in the alley our shouts were drowned.”

17岁的高中生金瑞贞(Kim Seo-jeong,音)穿着中国传统旗袍去参加聚会,她说,晚上8点梨泰院地铁站附近的巷子已经挤得没法走路了。



The crush began at a narrow roadway right outside Ext 2 of the Itaewon subway station, in Itaewon, one of Seoul’s more international and freewheeling neighborhoods, near a row of bars that included, among others, Oasis Bar & Cafe— a blazing neon magnet for young people looking for a good time. A big sign in yellow, red, pink and blue letters read, “Happy Halloween.”

Around 11 p.m., officials began sending alerts urging people to avoid Itaewon. Benedict Manlapaz, a filmmaker visiting from New York, arrived at the station about an hour later to see the streets jammed with crowds. The people, he said, were “irritated,” with some crying.



“Our people are so insensitive about public safety,” Kim said. “The government should have sent more police to control the crowd. There was a Halloween crowd in Itaewon last year despite the pandemic. The government should have anticipated a much bigger crowd this year because most of the pandemic restrictions are gone.”

Officials initially said that many of those killed had lapsed into cardiac arrest. Citizens, police officers and emergency medical workers were seen performing cardiopulmonary resuscitation on people sprawled on the pavement. Later, a grim lineup of bodies covered by sheets or towels appeared before rescue workers could begin carrying them away.

More than 800 emergency workers and police officers from around the nation, including all available personnel in Seoul, were deployed to the streets to treat the injured.

But ambulances and police vehicles struggled to make their way to and from the site, with roads jammed and pedestrians spilling into traffic.





Officials batted down speculative theories, including that a gas leak had spurred people into the alleyway, but they proffered no alternative explanation as to what happened. Instead, residents were left to blame police and the country’s already embattled president.

The disaster, South Korea’s worst since the Sewol ferry sank in 2014, killing more than 300 people, will likely add to the litany of political woes facing President Yoon Suk-yeol of South Korea, who has dealt with low approval ratings and diplomatic misfires since taking office in May.

“The top priority is to evacuate and save the victims,” Yoon told his Cabinet, according to his office. “We should take them to urgent medical treatment as quickly as possible.”

The tragedy was Asia’s second crowd disaster in less than a month, after a soccer match on Oct. 1, in Malang, Indonesia, ended with 125 people dead. Spectators trying to flee a stadium were crushed after police officers clashing with unruly fans fired tear gas into the crowd.

Condolences poured into South Korea, including from President Joe Biden.“The United States stands with the Republic of Korea during this tragic time.”








•2 hours ago

Halloween is all about commercialization




•2 hours ago

What is the break of these 151 deaths, need to know how many man & how many women, this will help me to analize to market which products next year.




• Ashok Mishra•2 hours ago

Man made tragedy




•2 hours ago

It is a very unfortunate tragedy! We humans learn from such disasters. History is full of such instances where stampeds had taken place at large gathering. I am sure the Seoul police will take a lesson from this tragedy and ensure such accidents do not take place in that city again. It is a very unfortunate and sad news that such a large number of young lives have been lost. May the departed souls rest in peace and the God Almighty grant strength to the parents of these victims to bear this loss








• L S Patwal•2 hours ago

Why take lessons, why not ban




•2 hours ago

A real unfortunate incident in middle of Halloween festival.




• Dc Test•2 hours ago

Non sense for Halloween week a marketing life taking gimmick




• Arun Choudhary•2 hours ago

No it was bound to happen




•3 hours ago

sorry to hear the sad news and the incident taking place in Seoul. I have visited the place a few times as this was the only area in which you could find Indian food in FY 2000.




•3 hours ago

I feel bad for poor souls but honestly, this is downright dumb. Why can't people learn how to have a good time with some sense of logic? I mean, if thousands of people are going to descend to a small place and get drunk, what do you expect will happen?




•3 hours ago

Heartfelt sympathies. What a needless waste and chaos in an educated and energetic nation! RIP.




•3 hours ago

It is a very sad event in this year. It seems to be an act of some group interested in damaging the name of ruling party. Atleast police force could have been strengthened atleast after seeing the Size of crowd moving in nartow lanes. Really a bitter event in a pleasant festival.




• Guest•2 hours ago

Blame Rahul Gandhi for this.




•3 hours ago

Absolutely ridiculous freak accident which killed hundreds of people. what is there in that celebration for nothing but to die ???? Govts should Ban all these types of nonsense celebration once for all. carelessness caused this stampede.





•3 hours ago

SK communicates in their mother tongue, and citizens are not even fluent in English, for eg, then how come this foreign culture is followed?? it's so disheartening to learn that so many teenagers and young people have been killed in that stampede. cant imagine the plight of their parents. may their souls RIP and god give strength to their loved ones to tide this phase.






• Sunita Deshmukh•3 hours ago

majority of the population there are Christians so they will follow western centric Christian festivals, not there traditional festivals.




•3 hours ago

mindless crowd lead to disaster. My sympathies to them




Praveen Jaiman•Ahmedabad•3 hours ago

No one can be manged, if someone does not want to be managed, blaming police, government has become a fashion, shrouding responsibility has become a way of living for most of us.




•3 hours ago

Behaviour of human beings is basically similar all over the world.




•3 hours ago

overpopulation with full of money and not knowing what to do with it




•4 hours ago

stupid and nonsense event or festival.




• Jaihindh Babi•3 hours ago

as stupid as your temple visit stampedes.




KK International Jalandhar•4 hours ago

Unfortunate incident. Event of fun and change turned in sad and horrible moment. Those who have lost lives may rest in eternal peace and strength to the aggrieved families.




User Srikumar•4 hours ago

Sick Koreans following sick western culture. Deserved it.


 User Srikumar•3 hours ago

You're an ANIMAL.




User Srikumar•4 hours ago

So they got the real halloween...




neverlander trending

12 hours ago

Whats halloween ? What relation with asia it has ? Simply mimicking senseless traditions of west.




Priyesh Sekar

Mumbai13 hours ago

What has korea got anything to do with halloween? Do whatever the west does..




Deepak M

Deepak M12 hours ago

South Korea itself such a rich culture and heritage, the young generation in Korea are too much influenced by the west and forgetting their roots.


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