Officials: 151 people killed after Halloween crowd crushes revelers in South Korea

SEOUL, South Korea — A Halloween celebration in South Korea’s capital turned deadly Saturday night as at least 151 people were killed after being crushed by a crowd.

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Officials said there were 100,000 people attending the festivities in Seoul, which was the first no-mask Halloween event since the COVID-19 pandemic, the BBC reported.

Officials says death toll now at 151

Update 11:50 p.m. EDT Oct. 29: According to The Associated Press, at least 151 people were killed and 82 others were injured in South Korea’s worst disaster in recent years.

According to Choi Seong-beom, chief of Seoul’s Yongsan fire department, per the AP, those killed or injured were mostly teenagers and adults in their 20s. The deceased included 19 foreigners. The death toll could rise by 19 depending on the those in critical condition.

According to the AP, about 100,000 people were gathered in Itaewon for the biggest Halloween festivities event outdoors since the start of the pandemic.

-Jessica Goodman, Cox Media Group National Content Desk

Fire official says death toll now at 146

Update 3:21 p.m. EDT Oct. 29: During a news conference in Seoul on Sunday, Choi Seong-beom, chief of Seoul’s Yongsan fire department, said the death toll has risen to at least 146 after a crowd enjoying Halloween festivities crushed revelers in a narrow street in the capital’s entertainment district, The New York Times reported.

Officials also said at least 150 people were injured.

More than 1,700 response personnel nationwide were deployed, according to The Associated Press.

Choi Seong-beom, chief of Seoul’s Yongsan fire department, said 101 of the dead were set to area hospitals, including Seoul National University Hospital, Gangdong Kyunghee University Hospital, Hanyang University Hospital and Korea University Hospital, the Times reported. The other 45 were taken to a multipurpose gymnasium near Itaewon.

Death toll climbs to 120

Update 2:07 p.m. EDT Oct. 29: The death toll continued to rise in South Korea, as officials in Seoul said 120 people are dead after a crowd surged down a narrow street, crushing partygoers during Halloween festivities, The Associated Press reported. Officials said at least 100 other people were injured, according to The New York Times.

Saturday night’s incident in Seoul’s Itaewon leisure district is the worst peacetime disaster in South Korea since 2014, when 300 people died after the Sewol ferry sank, the newspaper reported.

Choi Seong-beom, chief of Seoul’s Yongsan fire department, said 74 of the dead have been sent to hospital, according to The Associated Press. The bodies of the remaining 46, who were kept on the streets, were being transported to a nearby gym so that workers could identify them, the news organization reported.

“There were so many people that we couldn’t move,” Song Su-yeon, 46, told the Times. “It looked like I would have died if I had fallen.”

Officials say 59 people have died

Update 1:28 p.m. EDT Oct. 29: According to South Korean officials, the death toll has risen to 59 after a crowd of Halloween revelers surged down a narrow street in Seoul, crushing partygoers, The Associated Press reported. Officials also said 150 people were injured.

According to Choi Seong-beom, chief of Seoul’s Yongsan fire department, the death toll could grow even more as emergency responders transported victims to area hospitals.

Choi said 13 of the dead were taken to area hospitals, while the bodies of the remaining 46 were still on the streets, according to the AP.

The Yonhap news agency cited emergency services, who said that 150 more people had been injured in Seoul’s Itaewon leisure district, the BBC reported.

Officials say 9 people dead

Update 1:03 p.m. EDT Oct. 29: South Korean officials said at least nine people died after they were caught in a crush of Halloween revelers in Seoul’s Itaewon leisure district, The Associated Press reported.

Choi Cheon-sik, an official with South Korea’s National Fire Agency, said at least 60 more people were being treated for injuries. Choi added that the death toll could rise.

Choi said the crowd began pushing near the Hamilton Hotel, a major party venue in Seoul, according to the AP.

Original report: Revelers were crushed by the large crowd that was pushing forward on a narrow street, the AP reported. It was unclear whether there were any fatalities.

Choi Cheon-sik, an official with South Korea’s National Fire Agency, said about 100 people were reported as injured in the Itaewon leisure district, The Guardian reported. He added that 50 people were being treated for cardiac early Sunday, the AP reported.

Choi said the crowd began pushing near the Hamilton Hotel, a major party venue in Seoul, according to the news organization.

Video footage showed several people being treated on the street by emergency services, the BBC reported. The victims were surrounded by large crowds.

South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol sent a disaster medical assistance team to the area, CNN reported.

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