South Korea’s incumbent and 13th president Yoon Suk Yeol, 61, has declared a period of national mourning. At around 10:20 p.m. on October 29, 2022, hundreds of partygoers were involved in a crowd crush in Itaewon, a popular nightclub district in Seoul, South Korea.
That night, around 100,000 partygoers were packed tightly in the narrow streets of Itaewon. Authorities have yet to determine what exactly caused the crush.
At least 154 people were killed in the crush. One of them is from Australia, two are from the United States, four are from China and 19 others are from Iran, Norway, Russia and Uzbekistan.
The two Americans are Steven Blesi, 20, of Marietta, Georgia, USA and Anne Gieske, 20, of Fort Mitchell, Kentucky, USA. He was a student at Kennesaw State University in Kennesaw, Georgia while she was a nursing student at the University of Kentucky in Lexington, Kentucky.
“As the identity of the casualties is still being identified, there is a possibility that the number of foreign casualties will increase further,” The Korea Herald quoted a Ministry of Foreign Affairs official as saying. “In close consultation with the Central Disaster and Safety Countermeasure Headquarters, we will promptly make the necessary follow-up measures regarding foreign casualties.”
At least 82 others were injured by the crush. Two of them are Chinese nationals.
Among the casualties, at least 50 suffered from cardiac arrest. More than 800 emergency workers and police officers from across South Korea were deployed to Seoul to help treat those who were injured.
Most of the partygoers are either teenagers or people in their 20s. They attended the first Halloween event in Seoul since the new coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic caused almost all countries to require restrictions and social distancing in 2020.
Oh Se-hoon, 61, assumed office as the mayor of Seoul on April 8, 2021. He was on an official visit to Europe when the crush happened but he is returning home after canceling the rest of his trip.