The incident occurred when a large crowd of people who were outside to celebrate Halloween gathered on a narrow street in the vibrant nightlife district of Itaewon Sunday night local time.
Videos shared on social media show medics providing CPR to people lying lifeless on the ground. Many of them suffered cardiac arrest as a result of being crushed to death, or run over in the chaos and panic that followed.
Seoul Fire Chief Choi Seong-beom said the death toll could rise as rescuers search the area. According to Choi, the condition of many of the injured is critical.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs told NRK Saturday night that they currently have no indications that the Norwegians have been infected.
We are in contact with our embassy in South Korea to investigate whether the Norwegians have been affected by the tragic accident in the capital, Seoul. The situation remains unclear and we currently have no indications that Norwegians are affected, State Department spokesperson Anne Havardsdater Lundy tells NRK.
Chaotic conditions on the streets
Eyewitnesses speak of chaos in the streets. There are so many dead, wounded and uninjured, that ambulances and other emergency vehicles don’t arrive.
An eyewitness told South Korea’s Yonhap News Agency that he saw people being pressured to death.
– People were lying on top of each other in several layers. He says some gradually lost consciousness, while others looked as if they had died.
Note: NRK warns against strong images in this video.
A large number of ambulances and rescue teams were sent to the scene, and ambulances went to nearby hospitals. Rescuers also arrived in Seoul from other parts of the country.
And Reuters news agency wrote that many of those involved will be foreign nationals.
Swede Alex Noble found himself in the middle of the chaos that arose on Main Street in Itaewon. Says Swedish Radio That many ambulances and firetrucks arrived suddenly.
– It’s never finished. He says everyone seemed completely lifeless.
– I’ve never seen so many people die in front of me, he says and says he’s seen at least 60 people lying lifeless on Main Street.
Called a crisis meeting
to me BBC About 100,000 people are said to have taken to the streets to celebrate Halloween for the first time since the pandemic.
Police say the cause of the crowding and panic is not yet known, but the incident is being investigated. According to local media, the stampede occurred when a large number of people rushed to a certain bar in Itaewon after rumors of an unnamed celebrity.
President Yoon Seok Yeol called an emergency meeting over the incident. It urges the responsible authorities to ensure that the wounded receive immediate treatment and that there are sufficient beds in nearby hospitals. He also urged people to stay away from the area and allow ambulances to access.
The mayor of Seoul is returning to the capital after cutting short a Cannes trip to Europe, according to a South Korean newspaper. KBS.
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