South Korea declares national mourning after 151 killed in Halloween stampede

South Korea declares national mourning after 151 killed in Halloween stampede

There were 19 foreigners among those who were killed in the stampede.

South Korean capital Seoul saw dozens of people getting cardiac arrest during Halloween celebrations as thousands crowded narrow streets in the Itaewon neighbourhood. Local authorities have said that at least 151 people were dead and more than 150 were injured. AFP cited a fire brigade official who said that more than 140 ambulances have been dispatched to the scene.

Yonhap news agency reported that around 50 people were in cardiac arrest, quoting the fire department. There were 19 foreigners among those who were killed in the stampede. They were from Iran, Uzbekistan, China and Norway.

Itaewon is a popular destination for people celebrating Halloween in the South Korean capital, and the incident apparently occurred as the result of a crush resulting from the size of the crowd.

South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol has ordered officials to dispatch first aid teams and for hospital beds to be immediately available.

Photographs published by Yonhap appeared to show more than a dozen people lying prone on a street that had been cordoned off by authorities, with rescue workers tending to some of them.

Video footage from the scene of the crush showed people performing emergency first aid on several victims who appeared to be prone on the pavement, while rescue workers rushed to help others.

South Korea declares national mourning after 151 killed in Halloween stampede
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Yellow-jacketed policemen formed a cordon around the site of the crush, with rescue officials loading victims -- some of whom were covered with blankets or other coverings -- into ambulances.

Around two dozen people were entirely covered by makeshift blankets on the roadside.

On Sunday, South Korea's President Yoon Suk-yeol ordered a thorough investigation saying that a deadly stampede at the Halloween event "should not have happened".

"In the centre of Seoul, a tragedy and disaster occurred that should not have happened," Yoon said in a national address, vowing to "thoroughly investigate" the incident and ensure it could never happen again.

He also announced a period of national mourning and ordered the lowering of flags.

“The government will designate the period from today until the accident is brought under control as a period of national mourning and will place top priority in administrative affairs in recovery and follow-up measures.”

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