S. Korea declares week of mourning after deadly crowd surge

People pay tribute for the victims of the Halloween celebration stampede, on the street near the scene on October 31, 2022 in Seoul, South Korea. One hundred and fifty-one people have been reported killed and at least 150 others were injured in a deadly stampede in Seoul’s Itaewon district, after huge crowds of people gathered for Halloween parties, according to fire authorities. (Photo by Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images)

OAN Newsroom
UPDATED 10:54 AM PT – Monday, October 31, 2022

South Korea’s government is investigating the deadly crowd surge in the nation’s capital.

154 people were killed and more than 100 were injured over the weekend as tens-of-thousands of people gathered in Seoul’s Itaewon neighborhood for Halloween festivities.

MOMENT BEFORE HALLOWEEN TRAGEDY

LOOK: A street in Itaewon district is pictured full of people before a stampede during Halloween festivities killed and injured many in Seoul, South Korea, in this image released by Yonhap on Oct. 30. | : Yonhap via Reuters pic.twitter.com/Uj1o2ZQNld

— Inquirer (@inquirerdotnet) October 30, 2022

Authorities say the crowd surge began with people pushing others in narrow alleyways, which in turn set off a deadly panic. The state department has confirmed that two Americans are among those dead. The two Americans, Steven Blesi and Anna Gieske, both 20, were college students studying abroad in South Korea.

Photos of the two Americans killed in Itaewon, Anne Gieske and Steven Blesi, were posted up against the subway station railing at the makeshift memorial near the alley. pic.twitter.com/ITbVZJMSba

— Kelly Kasulis Cho (@KasulisK) October 31, 2022

In the aftermath, questions are arising over whether or not more police should have been dispatched to the area to help control the large crowds. Authorities are interviewing witnesses and reviewing video recordings as part of their ongoing investigation. 

South Korea’s President, Yoon Suk-Yeol, declared a week of national mourning. The president has ordered that the government will pay funeral fees for the dead, medical costs for the injured and consolation payments to affected families.

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