South Korean authorities have reported the deaths of at least 149 people following a massive crowd surge in South Korea’s capital city, Seoul.
The fatal incident unfolded on Saturday during Halloween celebrations in the capital’s nightclub district of Itaewon. Reports state at least 76 people were injured, with 57 only suffering minor injuries, while nineteen were severely hurt. The majority of the victims are said to be teens and people in their 20s. As a number of people remain hospitalized, a local health official warned that the death toll could rise.
What initiated the incident and the cause of the victims’ deaths have not yet been confirmed, but authorities believe that there was a stampede resulting from a crowd surge through the narrow streets. Almost a hundred people reported having difficulty breathing. Chief of the Yongsan-gu Fire Department, Choi Seong-bum, said that around 10:24 p.m. local time Saturday, his department started receiving reports of people “buried” in crowds. In footage taken on the scene of the incident, first responders can be seen desperately trying to give CPR to victims lying on the streets.
According to reports, more than one thousand emergency response forces were dispatched, and South Korea’s President, Yoon Suk Yeol, has instructed authorities to reserve emergency beds in local hospitals. The president has also ordered Lee Sang-min, the government’s Interior and Safety Minister, to begin an investigation into Saturday’s incident.
Watch footage taken on the scene of the incident below: