It’s the worst-ever stampede in South Korea’s historical past and President Yoon Suk-yeol has ordered a full investigation and vowed such a tragedy won’t ever be allowed to occur once more.
This is what we all know:
As much as 100,000 individuals descended on Seoul’s fashionable Itaewon district Saturday night time for the primary Halloween occasion with out Covid-19 restrictions in three years.
Native retailers who’ve labored within the space for 30 years advised AFP that the group had been “unprecedentedly massive” this 12 months however an earlier assertion from the police indicated they solely deliberate to deploy 200 officers.
Movies posted on social media confirmed the packed however initially peaceable crowd beginning to panic as individuals saved pushing right into a slender, downhill alleyway, which was already wall-to-wall with revellers.
“Folks could not transfer ahead and had been pushing and pushing, and it was a steep hill so individuals had been falling on high of one another, collapsing on high of one another,” eyewitness Jarmil Taylor, 40 advised AFP.
“Folks that had been on the again had been pushing and pushing as a result of they’d no concept what was happening within the entrance.”
Nearly all of the victims had been younger girls of their 20s, officers mentioned, who died resulting from being trapped within the tightly-packed crowd within the slender, sloping alleyway on the coronary heart of the catastrophe.
In most stampede conditions, specialists say, individuals die of suffocation, though authorities in Seoul initially mentioned that many victims had been struggling cardiac arrests.
Eye-witnesses additionally described seeing individuals falling and getting trapped by the group earlier than being trampled and crushed.
A delay in emergency first assist may even have led to extra deaths, critics mentioned, pointing to a scarcity of police on the scene which meant first responders initially struggled to succeed in victims via overcrowded alleyways.
This delay was crucial as many victims who suffered cardiac arrests could have handed the essential “four-minute” window earlier than assist arrived, specialists mentioned.
On the opposite facet of city, the inside minister mentioned: an enormous protest in Seoul’s Gwanghwamun district Saturday additionally required a big police presence, so many officers had been deployed there.
In paperwork posted two days earlier than the occasion, the police mentioned they solely deliberate to have 200 officers current for the Itaewon Halloween occasion.
Critics mentioned this displayed a woeful lack of planning.
“This can be a man-made catastrophe prompted by a ignorance about security,” mentioned Shin Dong-min, a professor on the Korea Nationwide College of Transportation.
“Itaewon distributors and authorities officers ought to have had extra preparations a few huge crowd gathering,” he advised YTN information.
As a short-handed reduction staff struggled to help scores of victims in cardiac arrest, passers-by jumped into assist with first assist efforts and to carry out CPR.
A video that circulated on Twitter confirmed dozens of individuals coming to carry out CPR on victims sprawled on the street; different footage confirmed individuals in costumes carrying limp our bodies on their backs.
“I used to be strolling by however stopped to assist with CPR as a result of it regarded like an emergency scenario,” Min Byung-yeon, a former nurse, advised YTN.
One other lady who had gone to Itaewon together with her youngster to benefit from the festivities mentioned she was requested to carry out mouth to mouth resuscitation on a handful of victims.
However others mentioned individuals had been too preoccupied with their telephones to help.
“I could not maintain again my tears as nobody supplied to assist however continued to movie,” as she carried out CPR, one lady who recognized herself as a nurse wrote on Twitter.
South Korea’s tech corporations together with Kakao Speak, and Twitter Korea, have urged customers to chorus from sharing graphic pictures of the catastrophe.
President Yoon has declared a interval of nationwide mourning and vowed to “completely examine the reason for the incident”.
Within the absence of a direct official rationalization, rumours have exploded on-line.
Some customers have speculated the stampede may have been triggered by a fuel leak or a fireplace at one of many golf equipment, others declare the trigger may have been a celeb sighting.
On-line customers additionally floated the attainable use of medication, with photographs of purported “drug candies” allegedly handed out on the occasion circulating on Twitter.
Police have to date discovered no proof of any of this, and eye-witnesses didn’t describe something alongside these traces to AFP.
Specialists, as an alternative, level to policing and crowd management failures.