at least 120 dead during Halloween celebrations

(CNN) — At least 120 people died Saturday night in an incident during a Halloween celebration in Seoul’s Itaewon district, according to the chief of the Yongsan Fire Department.

At least 100 other people were injured, the chief added.

Choi Seong-bum, chief of the Yonsan Fire Department, said there was no gas leak or fire at the scene, but they had received several reports of people “buried” in the crowd by 10:24 p.m. local time on Saturday. evening.

Yongsan Health Center director Choi Jae-won said dozens of injured were taken to nearby hospitals, adding that the death toll was likely to rise. The causes of death have not been confirmed.

A witness described the chaotic scene to CNN, saying people were stuck and unable to breathe.

“I saw people going on the left side and I saw a person going on the opposite side. So the person in the middle was stuck, so they had no way to communicate, they couldn’t breathe,” Song Sehyun told CNN.

Yonhap news agency previously reported that the people had suffered “cardiac arrest”, attributing the information to the fire department. Emergency officials received at least 81 people from the Itaewon neighborhood with “breathing difficulties.”

Rescue team members wait with stretchers to remove bodies from the scene Saturday night in Itaewon.  (Credit: im hong ji)

Rescue team members wait with stretchers to remove bodies from the scene Saturday night in Itaewon. (Credit: Im Hongji)

Police cordoned off the area of ​​Seoul’s Itaewon district. Videos shared on social media show people lying in the streets.

South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol has dispatched a medical disaster relief team, according to the presidential office.

The president also ordered authorities to provide emergency beds in nearby hospitals and conduct rapid rescue and treatment operations, presidential spokesman Lee Jae-Myung said at a briefing.

Rescue teams seen in the Itaewon nightlife district of Seoul on Saturday night.  (Credit: Jung Yeon-je/AFP/Getty Images)

Rescue teams seen in the Itaewon nightlife district of Seoul on Saturday night. (Credit: Jung Yeon-je/AFP/Getty Images)

Yoon was in an emergency meeting about the situation, the office said in a statement.

This is a developing story and will be updated.

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