Disasters & Accidents

Death toll in Seoul tragedy rises to 154, 26 of them foreigners

Seoul, Oct 31 (EFE).- The number of deaths from the crush during weekend Halloween celebrations in Seoul increased to 154, 26 of whom are foreigners, while another 33 people remain seriously injured, authorities said Monday.

Another 116 also sustained non-life threatening injuries, according to a statement from health officials, who said all the victims except one have been identified.

Among the 26 deceased foreigners are people from Iran, China, Russia, Japan, the United States, Uzbekistan, Sri Lanka, France, Australia, Norway , Thailand, Austria, Vietnam and Kazakhstan.

The event occurred Saturday night when an uncontrolled crowd gathered in a narrow alley in the Itaewon neighborhood, where thousands of people celebrate Halloween every year.

Hundreds of people were trapped, some for over an hour, and as a result many, most of them women in their 20s, suffocated to death.

Of the 154 fatalities, 98 are women, a figure that indicates, according to experts, that their smaller size meant they could not avoid being crushed.

Some 100,000 people visited Itaewon Saturday and many questioned the lack of police in the area, which had already registered dangerous crowds Friday, according to several witnesses.

South Korea has declared national mourning for a week over the country’s worst tragedy since the 2014 sinking of the Sewol ferry, killing more than 300 people, most of them high school students.

In the Itaewon neighborhood, people Sunday began to lay flowers in front of the nearest subway exit to the aforementioned alley, whose access has been closed by authorities, and in the square in front of the Seoul City Hall an altar has been erected so that citizens can honor the victims.

South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol visited him Monday morning accompanied by First Lady Kim Keon-hee, and both placed flowers on the altar, before which they bowed.

Many in Seoul also lined up to pay their tribute and place a white chrysanthemum on this altar. EFE


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