The young crowds that gathered in Seoul's famous Itaewon area on Saturday to celebrate the first time that Halloween was open to everyone celebrations in the past three years ended up being caught in a raging crowd that claimed the lives of at least 150 people.
The party-goers with a few still in their teens, and others dressed in Halloween costumes was eager to party in the nightclubs, bars and eateries where the party often spills into narrow and sometimes steep streets. But the quiet of Itaewon's backstreets became shady on Halloween weekend.
24 hours prior the event, there were warning signs that the celebrations attracted a large number of people. On the night of Friday, a Reuters observer saw crowds of people at the venue crowded toe-to toe in a Halloween-themed street fair featuring booths for face painting and selling costumes and candy,report by genting online casino malaysia.
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The following day, the crowds returned. Officials claim there was not a single event or celebration that brought hundreds of revelers to the narrow alleyways that hundreds of youngsters as well as at least 22 foreigners, were killed.
However, social media posts revealed nightclubs and bars advertising Halloween-themed events and promotions, which included collaborations with some of the top nightclubs for special shows.
Officials are still looking into what caused the crowd to increase but both witnesses and videos showed the crowd jamming through the city for several blocks, which was the alleyway in which most of the deaths were likely to take place.
Just at 10.20pm (1320 GMT), chaos erupted. Police often struggling to control the crowds, as witnesses claimed. Many people crowded into a narrow and steeply sloped alleyway even though it was already crowded from wall to wall. The footage on social media showed individuals trying to climb the walls to avoid the pressure, while other people screamed, cried, or cursed.
The people at high up on the hill dropped, it sent people below them falling over other witnesses claimed. We arrived at 10pm to go to a bar, but later saw people falling onto the street, according to Moon Ju-young, 21. Some were bleeding, while others were crying in suffering.
A student in France who requested not to be named because of the emotional trauma caused by the incident, claimed that he was trapped in a crowd of people for around an hour and one-half. I wanted to escape to a safer area but that wasn't feasible," he told Reuters. "I was pushed around by everyone else and I could not accomplish anything.
He claimed to have walked out with chest pains and a sore ankle however, he felt for those who died or severely injured, as well those who fought to free people. He was less sympathetic to those who continued to get through the crowds, often challenging rescue workers who instructed the crowd to remain at a safe distance and remain calm. I'm angry with them for pushing everybody and didn't realize the consequences, he stated.
Images shared on social media show bodies sucked between structures, with some at bottom appeared to be unconscious, and other people reached for emergency personnel who tried to rescue them from the crushing.
The person close to me fell down, but those behind me continued pushing me. Then many more fell and then piled on each other, according to an experienced 30-year-old graduate pupil from Seoul. "I shouted at the people whom I was pushingand said "Don't push! People fell!'"
One mother said that her daughter, who was pulled away from the crowd and stuck for over an hour. Moon was the boy who saw people being harmed on the streets witnesses, said the onlookers appeared to cause more confusion as they attempted to aid family members.
There were a few people who attempted to forcefully to cross the police line by saying they had friends there but were pulled out by the police, Moon stated.
The authorities had estimated that as many as 100,000 people would attend the celebrations, which would be the first without significant restrictions on Covid-19 since the pandemic first began 2020.
However, they claimed that it was not appropriate to send more officers around the area, as is typical to celebrate Halloween weekend that usually attracts TV stations to show the celebrations and costumes. Some witnesses said it was difficult to discern a significant police presence in the crowd of people.
There are a lot of people who gather on Halloween each year but there were too many this year, far more than prior to Covid which is why I could not determine who were police officers and who is not in the crowd, claimed an older woman who said she was from the neighborhood but did not identify herself.
A father who lost a daughter who was in her 20s who was killed in the tragedy claimed that the city's preparations to host the gatherings were not adequate. There was a possibility to be an estimated 100,000 or more people in the Itaewon region this weekend," the man said to Reuters when he was in front of a Seoul funeral house to pick up the body of his daughter.
I believe there was not enough preparation which caused this tragedy. Social media videos revealed personal belongings and other items scattered around the scene of the incident, as well as firefighters giving CPR to the people lying on the street, and police fighting to hold crowds from moving in.
I was able to escape the scene as the graduate student stated. If I'd stayed for even a short time and then, I wouldn't have been able to escape and would've died there.