Seoul stampede: Remnants of panic fill the street where celebration became a national tragedy | World News

There was silence in Itaewon, where the horror unfolded, the site of a stampede in Seoul that left at least 153 people dead.

It’s been 24 hours since Halloween became a national tragedy.

Everyone returned to the scene. Some looked like they barely left. Everyone looked bewildered.

Most victims ‘in their 20s and 30s’ – Seoul live update

Some stare, some cry and some pray.

There are wine bottles left with flowers, in memory of the deceased hinting at what began as a night of celebration.

Among those who had gathered to pay their respects to the dead was Choel Jang.

“It was like a joke,” he told me as he wiped his tears.

“I don’t think at a festival like that some young people like me would die.

“So I’m really sad… I see someone lying on the street, and they’re wearing a costume. I’m so sorry for them.”

Choel says there are a lot of young women, too young to fight through crowds of people.

How is this area?

Just a few steps away, you can see the place of the heart – a small alley on an inclined road.

It’s hard to believe that 100,000 people are partying around this tiny area, and it’s easy to imagine how the situation spiraled.

You can spot remnants of panic everywhere – discarded bottles and Halloween costumes litter the streets.

Eyewitnesses described scenes of people flipping over like dominoes, partygoers struggling to get out, emergency services struggling to reach them.

This is the first time people can celebrate being revealed in three years after the COVID lockdown.

But what was meant to be a moment of freedom has turned into a terrifying tragedy.

A photo shows the scene of a crowd accident where many people fell at Itaewon area in Seoul, South Korea on October 30, 2022. While many people were gathering before Halloween, 151 people died. by falling on someone else.  (Yomiuri Shimbun via AP Images)
Blood is seen in the belongings of victims at the scene where many people died and were injured in a stampede during the Halloween festival in Seoul, South Korea, October 30, 2022. REUTERS / Kim Hong-ji

‘This is the next level’

Janelle Story captured the moment everything pops up on her phone.

She was out with her friends and was overwhelmed by how crowded the crowd was.

“This is the next level. Side-by-side. Before and after. Just loitering in those streets. Sometimes there’s no control over where you’re going,” she told me.

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Seoul stampede is ‘a real horror’

Luckily, she was able to take shelter in a bar, but it was hard to break down what was happening.

She described scenes of chaos, with some, some still drinking and singing, noticing the piled-up bodies, rescuers frantically performing CPR – many to no avail. .

Janelle doesn’t think there are enough policemen to stop the flow.

Read more:
What do we know so far about the Seoul stampede?
Are there early warning signs of crowd liking?
National mourning declared in Korea

“The city knows people come to Itaewon for Halloween. They know. They reported about it earlier in the week, saying Itaewon was preparing for Halloween events this weekend. 100,000 people. They know. So the crowd. Where’s the control?”

But the South Korean government said “a significant number of police and security forces have been deployed”.

The president has committed to a full investigation. But right now, the whole country is engulfed in grief.


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