No less than one Australian is among the many useless in a stampede in central Seoul, South Korea, after 1000’s of individuals crowded into slim streets to rejoice Halloween.
The Australian Embassy in Seoul says it has been notified of the demise, ABC Information reported.
Consular officers are offering help to the deceased’s household and to different Australians who attended the occasion, the Division of International Affairs stated.
An Australian man in Seoul stated his good friend was killed on the scene, whereas one other Australian is in intensive care. He additionally stated one other twin citizen stays in a steady situation.
No less than 151 folks have been killed on Saturday and a few 150 have been injured within the stampede. Hearth Division official Choi Seong-beom stated the stampede befell round 10.22pm within the South Korean capital, and that lots of the victims have been trampled to demise.
“The excessive variety of casualties was the results of many being trampled in the course of the Halloween occasion,” Choi stated, including that the demise toll might climb.
‘19 foreigners’ among the many victims
Particulars stay scant, with authorities struggling to establish the victims, however in a reside replace on Sunday afternoon Australian time South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol confirmed that no less than 15 foreigners had been killed.
That quantity embrace folks from Iran, Norway, China and Uzbekistan, Yongsan Hearth Dept Chief Choi Seong-bum confirmed.
Earlier, a Division of International Affairs and Commerce (DFAT) spokesperson instructed information.com.au the Australian Authorities was “urgently” looking for out if any Australians had been impacted.
“The Australian Authorities sends its deepest condolences to these affected by this tragic incident,” the spokesperson stated.
“The Australian Embassy in Seoul is urgently making enquiries with native authorities to determine whether or not any Australians are concerned.
Australians involved concerning the welfare of family members can name DFAT’s Consular Emergency Centre on 1300 555 135. These exterior Australia can name +61 2 6261 3305.”
Interval of mourning introduced
The South Korean President additionally introduced a interval of mourning because the nation wakes as much as the total scale of the unfolding tragedy, with the demise toll rising to 151.
He wished the injured “speedy recoveries” and described his sorrow over the “depressing” catastrophe.
Officers early on Sunday morning stated some victims had been tough to establish due to their Halloween costumes and as a result of many not carrying identification with them.
Earlier, they stated 50 folks have been in cardiac arrest and that greater than 140 ambulances have been dispatched to the scene to help the victims.
The district of Itaewon is a well-liked vacation spot for folks celebrating Halloween within the metropolis.
President Yoon Suk-yeol ordered officers to dispatch first assist groups and to swiftly safe hospital beds for these affected, the presidential workplace stated.
Video footage from the scene of the crush confirmed folks performing emergency first assist on a number of victims who gave the impression to be inclined on the pavement, whereas rescue employees rushed to assist others.
Within the moments earlier than the crush, video taken from folks inside the group confirmed dozens of individuals yelling for assist as strain from these round them constructed up.
Physician tells of the tragedy
In an interview with native broadcaster YTN, Lee Beom-suk, a health care provider who administered first assist to the victims described scenes of tragedy and chaos.
“So many victims’ faces have been pale. I couldn’t catch their pulse or breath and plenty of of them had a bloody nostril.
“After I tried CPR, I additionally pumped blood out of their mouths.”
AFP pictures confirmed scores of our bodies on the pavement lined by mattress sheets, and emergency employees wearing orange vests loading much more our bodies on stretchers into ambulances.
Witnesses describe horror scenes
Those that have been there because the tragedy unfolded have recalled fearing for his or her life.
“There have been so many individuals that we couldn’t transfer … It regarded like I might have died if I had fallen,” a 46-year-old instructed the New York Instances.
One other wrote on Twitter: “Folks saved pushing down and extra folks have been crushed down”.
Another person stated: “Folks crushed beneath the group have been crying and I assumed I might be crushed to demise, too, respiratory by way of a gap and crying for assist”.
One of many survivors recalled folks toppling over “like dominoes” after being pushed over.
They stated they have been trapped for about an hour and a half earlier than being rescued, as folks known as out for assist.
One other survivor stated he noticed 5 or 6 males push into others which induced one or two to start falling, in response to Seoul-based newspaper Hankyoreh.
Yellow-jacketed policemen fashioned a cordon across the web site of the crush, with rescue officers loading victims — a few of whom have been lined with blankets — into ambulances.
Round two dozen folks have been solely lined by makeshift blankets on the roadside.
Emergency employees carried them off on wheeled stretchers to ready ambulances.
This yr’s Halloween celebration is the primary because the pandemic broke out in 2020 at which South Koreans haven’t been mandated to put on face masks outdoor.
What induced tragedy
Whereas authorities stated they have been investigating the precise reason for the incident, some officers have blamed the group surge for the deaths, which has been described by an area fireplace official as a “presumed stampede”.
A number of stories steered many victims suffered cardiac arrest and respiratory bother, with preliminary stories of individuals being “buried” beneath the crowds simply earlier than 10.30pm (native time). Chief of the Yongsan-gu Hearth Division, Choi Seong-bum, stated there was no fuel leak or fireplace linked to the deaths.
He stated many of the casualties have been youngsters and folks of their 20s.
Greater than 1700 emergency response forces have been dispatched, together with 517 firefighters, 1100 police officers and round 70 authorities employees.
The Itaewon district is fashionable with younger South Koreans and expatriates alike, its dozens of bars and eating places packed on Saturday for Halloween after companies had suffered a pointy decline over three years of the pandemic.
“You’d see massive crowds at Christmas and fireworks … however this was a number of ten-folds larger than any of that,” Park Jung-hoon, 21, instructed Reuters.
The catastrophe is among the many nation’s deadliest since a 2014 ferry sinking that killed 304 folks, primarily highschool college students.
– with AFP
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