South Korea: Itaewon Halloween Crowd Crush

Every Halloween, the narrow streets of Itaewon are a popular place to celebrate this national holiday, as people fly to Seoul for the festivities. After the rise of COVID-19, the celebration was canceled for two years, until 2022. This year, many people flocked to Itaewon’s streets, happily celebrating Halloween until it wasn’t. On October 29, 2022, it was reported that people started to panic due to the crowded streets, and some witnesses began to say they couldn’t breathe; more than 100 people were reported dead. This number rose to 154 very quickly. Authorities are still trying to find lost victims, while the country still mourns for its families and friends.

During Halloween weekend, this holiday started out as a social celebration, until the crowds started to get overpopulated and out of control. Videos and pictures started circulating on the internet. It was clearly shown in those videos that the disaster was about to get even worse. People were crammed together and standing shoulder to shoulder in the narrow street. Yet this wasn’t unusual in Seoul, as it’s normal to have narrow streets and many people. A witness said that it took quite a long time for people to realize things were wrong and that the narrow streets were surrounded by not just music but screams. The first emergency call came in at around 10:24 p.m., and when authorities rushed to the scene, more people who needed help were revealed. But due to the narrow streets, loud volume, and population, many couldn’t be saved

Unfortunately, many victims were only in their early 20s and from foreign countries. The Minister of the Interior and Safety, Lee Sang-min, said that a “considerable amount” of police and security forces were sent on Sunday. During the crash, more than 1,700 emergency response forces were dispatched, including 500 firefighters, 1,110 police officials, and 70 government workers. The president of South Korea, Yoon Suk Yeol, called an emergency meeting to try and identify all the missing victims. But even after hours and days of searching, nothing was resolved for some of these families. . It is important to know that this crowd crush was very much predictable and preventable. Itaewon is popular for its narrow streets and with the overpopulation of tourists and people coming to this Halloween event, a disaster was bound to happen. South Korea still mourns over all these lost victims and this horrible tragedy of the 2022 Itaewon Halloween crash.


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