Juliana Velandia Santaella, originally from the city of Mexicali, was one of the survivors stampede in Seoul, South Korea; where Halloween festivities were held. in the incident around 154 people lost their livesof which 26 are foreigners, and another 80 are injured.
Despite the powerful images shared online, the 23-year-old Mexican managed to escape the disaster alive. In an interview for the newspaper Washington Post, the survivor shared her fear of not leaving the alley, because she was trapped for half an hour without being able to breathe, now suffering from rhabdomyolysis; a condition that occurs when oxygen cannot reach the muscles and tissue breaks down, causing kidney damage.
In her testimony, the Mexican woman stated that she went to South Korea for a school exchange, since she studies medicine, and is currently studying at Bucheon Catholic University, where she arrived in August of this year. According to Velandia, she left with another Mexican, who was her roommate, both were rescued alive; however, due to the bruising of the body, they sustain serious injuries.
The story began when the friends were walking on the slope of the alley and immediately, together with the other people, they began to fall to the ground, to the extent that the feet of the medical student no longer touched the street, because She was also supported by the other participants of the event.
“We walked a few meters, turned left and everything happened in the alley. I was at the top of the cliff. And we all started to fall. They started pushing, pushing, pushing us and didn’t stop,” explained the Mexican.
From being pushed and crushed, the 23-year-old girl lost sight of her companion, she didn’t even remember where she was, she was only focused on being able to breathe. In the same way, Velandia shared that she could not expand her lungs and consequently, he lost feeling in his limbs.
“At one point my feet were no longer touching the ground, there were already bodies under me. There was a boy who was unconscious and was crushing me, and my legs were so crushed that I couldn’t feel them anymore. I swore at one point that I would lose my legs, that they would break… That I would never be able to move them again,” he assured the American media.
When the Mexican woman realized that she could no longer breathe through her nose, she took quick, short breaths through her mouth to stay conscious. After spending 40 minutes trapped in the crowd, the young woman was rescued by security elements of the South Korean country; however, he assured that at the time of the rescue, he stopped feeling his legs, which made it more difficult to get out of the crowd.
“The problem is that my legs were still stuck between all the bodies. They couldn’t pick me up. This boy helped me pull my legs out from between my body. When they let me go, I looked at my cell phone and it was 10:58 pm. I guess I was trapped there for between 30 and 40 minutes,” he said.
Fortunately, Lower California managed to find her friend alive, and thanks to one call, the two met again. The next day, the girls went to the university hospital because Velandia had a fever during the night, and once in the medical unit she was diagnosed with rhabdomyolysis.
“It hurts to breathe, it hurts to walk. I can’t actually move.”