The death toll from a Halloween stampede in South Korea’s capital Seoul has risen to 151, with hundreds injured in one of the worst incidents in the country’s history.
According to the French news agency AFP, South Korean President Yoon Seok-yul declared a state of national mourning on Sunday, saying the government would bear the costs of medical care for those injured in the incident and funeral expenses for the dead.
Also Read: How To Survive A Crowd Crush?
How did the accident happen?
In the video of the accident site, it can be seen that a crowd of people is trapped in a narrow lane. The street was so crowded that people could not even move from their place.
In the videos, people are seen struggling to breathe. In another video, people doing rescue are seen trying to get people out of the dead bodies. Crying of people full of fear and sorrow can be heard in the video coming from the spot.
Many dead bodies were kept on the streets in blue body bags. At the same time, people are also seen taking the injured in ambulances nearby.
Hundreds of emergency workers were sent to the spot by the administration. The dead bodies have been removed from the streets and kept in such a place where family members can come and identify their relatives.
Jion Ga-il, 30, was also present at the scene and she was sitting in a nearby bar. Jeon said, “My friend told me that something very bad has happened outside. I told him what is he talking about but when I came out I saw people on the road giving CPR to the injured.
Death of 19 foreigners
South Korea’s fire department told Reuters on Sunday that 19 foreigners were among those killed in a stampede during a Halloween celebration.
President Yoon said in a national address on Sunday morning: ‘A tragedy and disaster happened in the center of Seoul and it should not have happened.
“The government will carry out a full investigation into the causes of this incident and fundamental reforms are put in place to ensure that such an incident does not happen again in the future.”
“My heart is broken over this incident and it is difficult to control my grief,” he added.
Footage on local TV showed President Yun and other top officials wearing green emergency service jackets visiting the crash site and talking to emergency service workers.
Earlier, eyewitnesses said that the injured people were shouting for medical help from the passers-by very close to the scene of chaos.
Jeon Gayol, 30, told AFP: ‘Many people were trapped there and I was also trapped in the crowd where I couldn’t get out.’
When Crowd surge becomes deadly?
While movies showing crowds desperately trying to flee suggest that being trampled might be the cause of most deaths, the reality is that most people who die in a surge of crowds are asphyxiated.
What you can’t see are forced so strong they can bend steel. That means something as simple as breathing becomes impossible. People die standing up and those who fall die because the bodies above them exert such pressure that breathing becomes impossible.
“As people struggle to get up, their arms and legs twist. The blood supply starts to shrink to the brain,” G. Keith Still, a visiting professor of crowd science at Suffolk University in England, told NPR after the Astroworld crowd surge in Houston last November. “It takes 30 seconds before you lose consciousness, and about six minutes, you’re in compressive or restrictive asphyxiation. That is generally the attributed cause of death: not crushing, but suffocation.”
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