Seoul (South Korea): At least 146 people have been killed and more 150 injured following a crush among huge Halloween crowds in a popular nightlife area of South Korea's capital, local officials have said.
The accident occurred as huge crowds gathered in a popular nightlife area to celebrate Halloween. It was the first outdoor no-mask Halloween event since the pandemic.
Videos from the scene show body bags on the streets, emergency workers performing CPR, and rescuers trying to pull people trapped beneath others. Itaewon is a busy bar area in Yongsan - popular with Seoul's young people - and Halloween is one of the busiest weekends of the year in the South Korean capital.
South Korea's President Yoon Suk-yeol has called an emergency meeting. Seoul Mayor Oh Se-hoon is on his way back to the capital city, cutting short of his four-nation tour of Europe.
South Korean officials say dozens of people were in cardiac arrest after being crushed by a large crowd pushing forward on a narrow street during Halloween festivities in the capital Seoul.
Authorities said that the number of deaths could still rise further with those who sustained serious injuries receiving emergency treatments at nearby hospitals.
Choi Cheon-sik, an official from the National Fire Agency, said around 100 people were reported as injured during the crowd surge Saturday night in the Itaewon leisure district. He did not give a specific number of the people being treated for cardiac arrest Sunday but said they were in the dozens.
Choi said it was believed that people were crushed to death after a large crowd began pushing forward in a narrow alley near Hamilton Hotel, a major party spot in Seoul.
Police said dozens of people are being given CPR on Itaewon streets while many others have been taken to nearby hospitals.
A local police officer said he was also informed that a stampede occurred on Itaewon's streets where a crowd of people gathered for Halloween festivities. The officer requested anonymity, saying the details of the incident were still under investigation.
Some local media reports earlier said the crush happened after a large number of people rushed to an Itaewon bar after hearing an unidentified celebrity visited there.
South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol issued a statement calling for officials to ensure swift treatment for those injured and review the safety of the festivity sites.
(with inputs from agencies)