1 / 6
151 people are confirmed dead after a stampede broke out in a large crowd in Seoul on Saturday afternoon. According to the fire chief, this also applies to Norwegians, but the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs cannot confirm this.
South Korean President Yoon Seok-yeol declared a period of national mourning and on Sunday morning offered his condolences to the families of the victims in the wake of the horrific tragedy.
At the same time, the authorities updated the death toll to 151. Of these, 19 are foreign nationals. Almost many injured.
According to the city’s fire service, most of the dead were in their teens and twenties.
A massive and devastating catastrophe, write the Koreans Yonhap On the front page on Saturday night.
Norwegian citizens may be affected
On Sunday morning, fire chief Choi Seong-bum in Yongsan said people from Norway, Iran, China and Uzbekistan were among the foreign nationals who died.
The Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs cannot confirm this, but it does not rule out the validity of this.
We have received information indicating that Norwegian citizens may have been affected in the tragic accident, says press spokeswoman Anne Havardsdatter Lundy.
She adds that the embassy is in close contact with local authorities to confirm the information.
– She says the situation is not clear and this work can take time.
They encourage Norwegian citizens in South Korea to contact family and friends who may be concerned. Norwegians who need help can also Contact the Ministry of Foreign Affairs directly.
On Saturday, Lund said there was not much to suggest the Norwegians were involved.
Chaos occurred around 22:20 local time, in connection with the Halloween celebration in the streets of Itaewon’s popular club district.
Yonhap He writes that many people rushed into a narrow, steep alley between the International Food Street of the Hamilton Hotel and Main Street at Itaewon Station.
Several of them were reported to have gone into cardiac arrest after being crushed or trampled on in disarray.
– People were lying on top of each other in several layers. An eyewitness said that some gradually lost consciousness, while others looked as if they had died.
The paper wrote that the police and firefighters had trouble getting there because of all the people. There were also not enough paramedics available to help everyone who was seriously injured.
Pictures and videos from the scene show people lying lifeless on the ground. Many are also carried on stretchers by ambulance workers who work on explosives.
Reports Choi Chun-sik from the Seoul Fire Department AP That 76 of the dead were tried to save them in the hospital. The rest are said to have been left on the street before being taken to a nearby training center for identification.
The fire chief said many of the injured were in critical condition.
Everyone seemed completely lifeless
BBC He writes that about 100,000 people have taken to the streets to celebrate Halloween without masks for the first time since the pandemic.
– Many young people gathered here last night. Many came here in party clothes, and many were dazed and sad when the chaotic scenes erupted, the BBC’s reporter at the scene, Hosu Lee, told the channel.
– He added that ambulances transported the bodies one by one.
Local media reported that the chaos arose when a celebrity was spotted at a nearby bar. This has not yet been confirmed.
CNN He writes that at one point many seemed to have attempted to flee the area and that panic in the narrow streets, alleys, and dead end roads may have played a role in the tragedy.
Swede Alex Noble was a witness from Main Street in Itaewon when chaos arose during the celebration. The 22-year-old, who lives in Seoul, is talking about the drama Swedish Radio:
– It was never over, everyone seemed completely lifeless, he tells the radio channel.
Noble estimates that he saw at least 60 lifeless people in front of him.
– He adds that I have never seen such a large number of people die.
Want immediate action
An investigation has already been conducted to find out how the accident occurred.
The president describes it as a tragedy that should not have happened.
It’s hard to hold back the sadness, Yoon said at the press conference.
There he also said that the issue was the highest priority at the national level and that he wanted immediate measures to prevent something similar from happening again.
The South Korean government has announced that it will provide support for a fund that covers funerals and support for families of the victims.
– Our country has a tradition to overcome disasters together and united. I strongly ask everyone to contribute, so that we can overcome the grief and rise again, says Prime Minister Han Duk-soo.
“Coffee trailblazer. Certified pop culture lover. Infuriatingly humble gamer.”