Halloween Horror



The crowd that gathered to celebrate Halloween was so big that people could barely move, sources said.

Natalia Garcia, Features Editor

   On the night of Oct. 29, 156 people were crushed to death and another 133 were injured by a large crowd in Seoul, South Korea during Halloween celebrations. Most of the victims were between 20 and 30 years old. More than 25 of the dead were foreign nationals from the U.S., China, Australia, Russia and Iran.

   Itaewon is one of the most popular neighborhoods in Seoul for a night out. The district is known for its trendy bars, clubs and restaurants. An estimated 100,000 people packed the streets that night to celebrate Halloween. After 10 p.m., chaos erupted: a narrow alley near the Hamilton Hotel became flooded with people. The back alley is a downhill 40-meter path that links a busy restaurant district with the main street, according to the Korean news organization Yonhap.

   People fell and knocked each other down like dominos and were piled on each other, pinned down and unable to move. Many had difficulty breathing, and bystanders heard others scream and cry for help. Witnesses claimed that it was tough for emergency workers and ambulances to reach the alley near the Hamilton Hotel because of the densely packed crowd. It took the emergency services over an hour before the victims were helped and brought to safety. Once they reached the alley, first responders pulled the injured onto stretchers and bystanders helped emergency responders perform CPR on the unconscious people. 

   “So many victims’ faces were pale,” a medic at the scene, Dr. Lee Beom-suk said, according to a BBC news report. “I could not catch their pulse or breath and many of them had a bloody nose.”

   A week of national mourning was declared in South Korea from Oct. 30 to Nov. 5. The country will take time to cry, grieve and pray for the lives that were lost. South Koreans are questioning the lack of crowd control and witnesses claim that there weren’t many police on the streets that night. Investigations are being conducted, although it’s still unclear why so many people accumulated in that narrow alleyway.

   This is considered one of the deadliest crowd-crushing disasters in South Korean history.