The admission got here because the South Korean authorities faces rising public scrutiny over whether or not the group surge Saturday evening in Seoul’s Itaewon district, a preferred nightlife neighborhood, might have been prevented and who ought to take the accountability for the nation’s worst catastrophe in years.
“I really feel a heavy accountability (for the catastrophe) as the pinnacle of one in every of associated authorities workplaces,” Yoon Hee Keun, commissioner normal of the Korean Nationwide Police Company, advised a televised information convention. “Police will do their finest to stop a tragedy like this from taking place once more.”
Yoon mentioned an preliminary investigation has discovered that there have been many pressing calls by residents notifying authorities in regards to the potential hazard of a crowd gathering in Itaewon, however officers who had obtained these calls did not reply to them in a passable method.
Yoon mentioned police have subsequently launched an intense inside probe to look deeper into the officers’ dealing with of the emergency calls and different points like their on-the-spot response to the group surge in Itaewon at that evening.
The catastrophe – which left no less than 156 folks lifeless and 151 others injured – was concentrated in a downhill, slim alley in Itaewon. Witnesses described folks falling on each other, struggling extreme respiratory difficulties and falling unconscious. Additionally they recalled rescuers and ambulances failed to succeed in the crammed alleys in time as a result of the complete Itaewon space was extraordinarily full of slow-moving automobiles and a crowd of partygoers clad in Halloween costumes.
Throughout a Cupboard council assembly Tuesday, President Yoon Suk Yeol additionally acknowledged that South Korea lacks analysis on a crowd administration. He referred to as for utilizing drones and different high-tech sources to develop an efficient crowd management functionality. He mentioned the federal government will quickly maintain a gathering with specialists to overview total nationwide security guidelines.
The gang surge is South Korea’s deadliest catastrophe because the 2014 ferry sinking that killed 304 folks and uncovered the nation’s lax security guidelines and regulatory failures. Saturday’s crowd surge has subsequently raised public questions on what South Korea has accomplished to stop human-made disasters.
After the Itaewon catastrophe, police launched a 475-member activity power to seek out its trigger.
Senior police officer Nam Gu-Jun advised reporters Monday that officers have obtained movies taken by about 50 safety cameras within the space and have been analyzing video clips posted on social media. Nam mentioned police have additionally interviewed greater than 40 witnesses and survivors up to now.
Police mentioned that they had despatched 137 officers to keep up order throughout Halloween festivities on Saturday, rather more than the 34-90 officers mobilized in 2017, 2018 and 2019 earlier than the pandemic. However some observers questioned whether or not the 137 officers have been sufficient to deal with the estimated 100,00 folks gathered Saturday in Itaewon.
Including extra questions in regards to the function of police was the truth that they despatched 7,000 officers to a different a part of Seoul earlier Saturday to watch dueling protests involving tens of 1000’s of individuals. Police additionally acknowledged that the 137 officers dispatched to Itaewon have been primarily assigned to watch crime, with a selected give attention to narcotics use – not the group management.
The loss of life toll might rise as officers mentioned that 29 of the injured have been in severe situation. The lifeless included some 26 international nationals from Iran, China, Russia, america, Japan and elsewhere.
President Yoon requested officers to supply the identical authorities assist to the bereaved households of the international victims as to South Korean lifeless and injured folks. He additionally thanked many world leaders for sending condolence messages over the catastrophe.
The Itaewon space, recognized for its expat-friendly, cosmopolitan environment, is the nation’s hottest spot for Halloween-themed occasions and events, with younger South Koreans participating in costume competitions at bars, golf equipment and eating places. Saturday’s gathering of the estimated 100,000 folks in Itaewon was the largest Halloween celebration within the space because the pandemic started.
Halloween festivities in Itaewon don’t have any official organizers. South Korean police mentioned Monday they haven’t any particular procedures for dealing with incidents reminiscent of crowd surges throughout an occasion that has no organisers.