Halloween crowds in Seoul: South Korean authorities say they’d no tips for Halloween crowds

Halloween crowds in Seoul: South Korean authorities say they’d no tips for Halloween crowds


Seoul, South Korea
CNN

South Korean authorities stated Monday they’d no tips to cope with the massive Halloween crowds in Seoul as households throughout the nation and around the globe mourned the 156 victims of the Saturday night mob.

The stampede passed off within the slender, neon-lit alleyways of the favored Itaewon nightclub district, the place witnesses described being unable to maneuver or breathe as hundreds of revelers stood shoulder to shoulder on a avenue not more than 4 meters (13 toes) extensive. .

Loopy households spent most of Sunday gathered at data facilities the place authorities gathered details about the lifeless and injured, and contacted morgues and hospitals in a determined try to search out lacking family members.

All of the victims have now been recognized and the panic has became nationwide grief because the nation grapples with one among its worst disasters in historical past – whereas dad and mom overseas care for his or her lifeless youngsters in a international land.

A woman pays her respects at a memorial altar on October 31 in Seoul, South Korea.

Official memorial altars have been arrange in downtown Seoul on Monday, with images depicting the crowds of people that got here to pay their respects. Many have been in tears and holding white flowers; others knelt and bowed deeply to the altar.

South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol, his spouse Kim Kyung-hee and prime officers, together with the prime minister and the mayor of Seoul, joined the mourners.

Many retailers and companies have been closed for per week of nationwide mourning. Some elements of central Seoul have been virtually abandoned – a really uncommon sight often a bustling capital with a inhabitants of about 10 million individuals.

Folks additionally paid their respects at a makeshift memorial in Itaewon, outdoors the subway station close to the alley the place the crash occurred. The doorway to the station is embellished with rows of flowers and choices comparable to handwritten notes, bottles of Korean soju liquor and paper drink cups.

Among the many mourners was a civilian group of households affected by the Sewol Ferry catastrophe, which killed 304 individuals – largely youngsters on a faculty tour – when the vessel sank in 2014.

“As somebody who has gone by way of the identical ache, my coronary heart is damaged and I’m speechless,” one member of the group informed reporters on the memorial, saying the households have been upset that “such a serious catastrophe is going on once more.”

Simply off the road, the doorway to the alley was cordoned off and safety officers stood guard as forensics officers in white protecting fits scoured the world, nonetheless affected by particles and particles.

Amid the grief, questions have been raised in regards to the authorities’s dealing with of the incident and the obvious lack of crowd management earlier than the tragedy.

One survivor, 22-year-old French trade scholar Anne-Lou Chevalier, informed CNN she handed out within the crowd after being “crushed” by fellow revelers. “At one level I had no air and we have been so crushed by different folks that I could not breathe in any respect. So I simply handed out,” Chevalier stated.

A number of witnesses and survivors stated they noticed few cops within the space earlier than the scenario escalated.

Earlier on Sunday, the Minister of House Affairs and Safety stated solely a “regular” degree of safety had been deployed to Itaewon as a result of the group there didn’t seem unusually massive, whereas a “important quantity” of police had been deployed elsewhere. Seoul in response to the anticipated protests.

Mourners pay their respects to the victims of the deadly Halloween explosion in Seoul on October 31, 2022.

However after dealing with a backlash from Korean politicians and social media, authorities appeared to alter tack on Monday, saying they’d deployed about 137 individuals to Itaewon that evening, in contrast with about 30 to 70 in earlier years earlier than the pandemic.

“For this Halloween competition, as a result of numerous individuals have been anticipated to assemble in Itaewon, I perceive that it was ready by deploying extra police than different years,” stated Oh Seung-jin, director of the Violent Crime Investigation Division. to the Nationwide Police Company.

Nevertheless, he admitted, “now there isn’t a separate guide for getting ready such a scenario when there isn’t a organizer and a gathering of individuals is anticipated.” Furthermore, the police have been concerned not for crowd management, however for crime prevention and prevention of “varied unlawful acts.”

Kim Seong-ho, director of the Ministry of House Affairs and Safety’s Catastrophe Administration and Safety Division, echoed these feedback, saying they’d no “suggestions or steerage” for such an “unprecedented scenario.”

The victims have been largely younger individuals who went to Itaewon on Saturday evening, hoping for South Korea’s first Halloween celebration in years with out Covid restrictions.

The loss of life toll rose to 156 on Tuesday after the loss of life of a critically injured girl in her 20s, Seoul police stated. A complete of 101 girls and 55 males died.

In response to authorities, 12 of the victims have been youngsters and greater than 100 have been of their 20s.

Amongst them are 26 international residents from the USA, China, Iran, Thailand, Sri Lanka, Japan, Australia, Norway, France, Russia, Austria, Vietnam, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan.

One other 149 individuals have been injured, 33 critically, together with 15 international residents.

Six college students attending faculties in Seoul – one center college and 5 highschool college students – have been among the many lifeless, together with three academics, Korea’s schooling ministry stated.

Among the many killed have been additionally three South Korean troopers, the consultant of the Ministry of Protection of Korea stated.

Steven Blessy, 20, is a college student from Marietta, Georgia.

Two American school college students have been recognized — Stephen Blessy of Georgia and Ann Giske of Kentucky — each juniors.

Blesi’s father, Steve Blesi, stated his son has “at all times been an adventurer.” He was an Eagle Scout, cherished basketball and wished to study a number of languages, he stated.

“Perhaps half an hour earlier than this tragedy occurred, I texted him on WhatsApp… “I do know you are out. Keep protected. I really like you.’ And I by no means obtained a solution,” stated Steve. “He had an extremely shiny future that’s gone now.”

Dan Giske, Ann’s father, stated in a press release Sunday evening that the household was “utterly devastated and heartbroken,” calling Ann “a shiny mild cherished by all.”

Ann was a nursing scholar finding out overseas in Seoul this semester, the College of Kentucky president stated.

Ann Giske, a University of Kentucky student who died in a crowd in Seoul.

The daddy of Mei Tomikawa, the 26-year-old Japanese trade scholar who died within the stampede, informed Japan’s public broadcaster NHK that he was “ready for the worst” when he was unable to contact her.

She studied Korean earlier than going to high school in Seoul, he stated, talking forward of a visit from Japan to South Korea on Monday.

“I attempted to name her to warn her to watch out, however she by no means answered the telephone,” he stated, in line with NHK. “She was a fantastic daughter … I wish to see my daughter as quickly as doable.”

Grace Raiched, Australian, killed in a mob in Seoul, South Korea.

The household of Australian sufferer Grace Raiched additionally launched a press release on Monday, calling her a “gifted movie producer who was obsessed with making a distinction”.

“We miss our stunning angel Grace who lit up the room together with her contagious smile. Grace at all times made others really feel vital and her kindness impressed everybody she ever met. Grace at all times cared about others and was cherished by everybody,” the household wrote.

Authorities are actually working with international embassies and households overseas to supply help in funeral preparations. Extra names and faces of the lifeless are more likely to emerge because the week progresses because the nation searches for solutions to how such a catastrophe – in an space recognized to be crowded on Halloween with weeks of holidays deliberate – might to occur unfolded.



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