Seoul Halloween crowd crush: What we know so far | Explainer News

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At least 146 killed and 150 others injured in a stampede during Halloween festivities in the South Korean capital.

At least 146 people have been killed in a stampede as Halloween celebrations were under way on a narrow street in the South Korean capital, Seoul, authorities have said.

At least 150 others were injured in the crowd crush in the city’s Itaewon district, Choi Seong-beom, head of the Yongsan fire department, said in a briefing at the scene.

The death toll could increase, Choi said, as emergency workers continued rescue efforts overnight.

Here is what you need to know:

What happened?

  • At about 10:20pm (13:20 GMT) on Saturday, a huge crowd celebrating Halloween was crammed into a narrow alley in the entertainment district of Itaewon.
  • Many of the casualties were trampled when a large crowd pushed forward, Choi said. Many of the injured were in serious condition and were receiving emergency treatment.
  • More than 400 emergency workers and 140 rescue vehicles were deployed to treat the injured, said Choi Cheon-sik, an official at the National Fire Agency.
  • Police confirmed dozens of people were given cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) on the streets, while others were taken to nearby hospitals.
Injured people are being attended to on a street in Seoul’s Itaewon district, after about 50 people fell into cardiac arrest from a stampede during Halloween celebrations in Seoul, South Korea, 29 October 2022 [Yonhap/EPA-EFE]

Many killed, wounded

  • At least 146 people were killed and 150 others were injured during the incident, and authorities said the death toll could increase further as emergency crews continued rescue efforts.
  • “The area is still chaotic so we are still trying to figure out the exact number of people injured,” said Moon Hyun-joo, an official at the National Fire Agency.
  • Choi Seong-beom said the bodies of 74 victims were sent to hospitals and the bodies of the remaining 46 were put in a makeshift morgue in a nearby gym.
  • “People were layered on top of others like a tomb. Some were gradually losing their consciousness while some looked dead by that point,” the Yonhap news agency cited a witness as saying.
  • Officials had said earlier that 50 people were in cardiac arrest and that more than 140 ambulances had been dispatched to the scene to aid the victims.


  • Al Jazeera’s Musun Kim, reporting from Seoul, said many people in the city would stay up through the night “with a sense of shock, wondering how this could have happened”.
  • South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol called for officials to ensure swift treatment for those injured and a review of the safety of festivity sites.
  • The Seoul metropolitan government issued emergency text messages, urging people in the area to swiftly return home.
  • Several videos posted on social media appeared to show people performing CPR on victims lying in the street. Other videos appeared to show dozens of people covered with blue plastic sheets at the roadside.
  • UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak called the incident “horrific”. “All our thoughts are with those currently responding and all South Koreans at this very distressing time,” he wrote on Twitter.


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