On Saturday (Oct. 29), Yongsan Fire Department Chief Choi Seong-beom said the death toll following the stampede continues to rise and that an unspecified number of injured victims are in critical condition. He said that over 74 bodies had been sent to hospitals while the 46 victims on the streets were taken to a nearby gym to be identified. Seong-beom added he believed the victims were crushed to death after a large crowd began pushing forward in a narrow alley near Hamilton Hotel, a major party spot in Seoul.
Hosu Lee, a reporter for BBC News who visited the scene, said he saw “a lot of medial staff, a lot of ambulances, they were taking the bodies away one by one.” He said there were thousands among the crowds and several bodies covered in blue sheets, alongside a bunch of police. “A lot of young people have gathered here tonight. A lot of people came to the party and club, wearing costumes and a lot of people I’ve seen distraught and sad and there are chaotic scenes,” he stated.
The Korea Times reports President Yoon Suk-yeol held an emergency meeting over the Seoul Itaewon Halloween accident. He said, “The top priority is transporting and rescuing the patients and providing prompt medical treatment for the affected people.” According to Lee Jae-myung, deputy spokesperson for the presidential office, the president ordered “immediate” response measures, including clearing the path for ambulances and other necessary traffic controls. Prime Minister Han Duck-soo, Minister of the Interior and Safety Lee Sang-min, Seoul Metropolitan Police chief Kim Gwang-ho, and other officials took part in the meeting via videoconference.
As news regarding the Seoul Halloween tragedy develops, we will keep you updated.