At least 120 dead in downtown Seoul on Halloween

Seoul (EFE).- The South Korean government declared this Sunday a day of national mourning after a stampede a day earlier during a Halloween celebration in Seoul that left at least 154 dead and 133 injured, and vowed to thoroughly investigate the causes of the tragic event.

The Asian country woke up to the shock of the accident on Sunday, which happened at around 10:22pm local time on Saturday (1:22pm GMT on Saturday) in a steep alley near the Hamilton Hotel, outside Itaewon subway station, a popular nightlife area.

The authorities are trying to determine the cause of the event, which according to eyewitnesses, authorities and videos published on social networks, was caused by an excessive accumulation of people in the narrow alley that connects the main avenue of the district, Itaewon ro, with the busy area of ​​the bar.

Hundreds of people were trapped there, many of whom died of suffocation, among the thousands who came to celebrate Halloween in Itaewon.

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Images of the avalanche in Seoul posted on social networks. EFE
The government in Seoul also reported that it had received 355 reports of missing persons that could be linked to the event, and noted that the vast majority of those who died after 21:00 on Sunday (12:00 GMT) had been identified.
Nearly 500 officers from the Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency were tasked with investigating the scene of the incident and identifying the victims on Sunday.
The alley where the tragedy happened and the surrounding streets remain cordoned off today.
Near the scene, some people today started laying flowers and other gifts in memory of the victims, and the government announced that this Monday, altars will be set up for this purpose in the square in Itaewon and in the square in front of the city hall.from Seoul.

A week of national mourning

South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol today declared the beginning of a period of national mourning that will last until next Saturday and promised a “deep investigation” into the cause.

The president pointed out that the “main priority” of the executive power at the moment is “determining the cause of the accident and preventing similar incidents”, in addition to the tasks of helping the victims and their relatives, during a televised speech a few hours after the accidents.

The president expressed his condolences to the relatives of the victims of the event and described it as “horrific” and a “tragedy and disaster that should never have happened”, before traveling to Itaewon this Sunday.

Victims of the stampede produced in the center of Seoul. EFE/Jeon Heon

This year’s Halloween celebration was the first mass celebration since 2019, due to restrictions imposed by the pandemic since 2020.

In the years before the health crisis, the Itaewon neighborhood – known for its proximity to a US military base and home to a mosque, making the area one of the most diverse in Seoul – became the busiest place in the capital. to celebrate that imported holiday.

A day earlier, it was the deadliest accident in the Asian country’s recent history since the sinking of the Sewol ferry in 2014, which killed 304 people, most of whom were high school students on a year-end trip.

Norway has confirmed that one of its citizens died in the stampede

The Norwegian government confirmed this Sunday that a Norwegian citizen had lost his life in a stampede during Halloween celebrations in Seoul.

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