The number of stampede accident victims during the fatal tragedy at the Itaewon Halloween Festival had increased once again. But, how did it happen? Here’s a closer look and complete details about how the fatal crowd crush tragedy happened during Itaewon Halloween.
*THIS ARTICLE FEATURES GRAPHIC CONTENT THAT MAY DISTURB SOME READERS. PROCEED WITH CAUTION!*
Itaewon Annual Halloween Festival Turned into A Fatal Crowd Crush & Stampede Tragedy with MORE Victims
Itaewon district of Seoul, South Korea, is famous for its annual celebration of Halloween. Although many people seem excited about the yearly gathering, it is NOT an official event with certified event organizers on duty.
Itaewon became the center of this unofficial Halloween festival due to its proximity to the US military, causing the district’s popularity of foreigners and American culture.
The annual celebration started around 2011, but in 2012, many local citizens were seen outnumbering the excitement of foreigners. In 2017, the total participants for the festival was around 200,000 people. And by the end of 2018, Itaewon’s road and alley became difficult to walk due to the crowded participants during the festival. You may notice this annual event portrayed in the “Itaewon Class” Korean drama.
Therefore, after the government lifted its pandemic restrictions, the enthusiasm for the Itaewon Halloween festival was beyond control. Over 100,000 people attended the festival in just over the course of hours, hoping to fill all the empty years they experienced during the pandemic.
Little did they know that this wild enthusiasm would bring a fatal stampede tragedy at the Itaewon Halloween festival. As of today, more victims have been reported, adding to the previous death tolls due to the crowd crush accident at the Itaewon Halloween festival.
How the Crowd Crush & Stampede Accident Happened at the Itaewon Halloween: INTENTIONAL Pushing!
Following various videos circulating on the internet, specific footage showed how the crowd crush started and led to the stampede accident during Itaewon Halloween tragedy.
Indeed, Yongsan Police and Fire Department stated they were still investigating the crowd crush origin during the Itaewon Halloween festival. However, according to multiple witnesses, Itaewon Halloween stampede tragedy happened because of intentional pushing.
YouTuber Seon Yeo Jung was one of the survivors of the crowd crush and stampede accident at the Itaewon Halloween tragedy. She explained what happened during the crowd crush in a series of Instagram stories from moments inside the crowd.
According to her testimony, everything was okay at first. Although it was already difficult for them to move due to the tight space, there were orders because the people were following the right-hand traffic regulations.
However, everything turned into chaos when some people from the top alley began pushing their way. They were shouting like it was a pushing competition, causing uncontrolled movements among the participants. Seon Yeo Jung stated that even if they wanted to return to the original order, it was no use because people were pushed and shoved against their will.
Testimonies from Multiple Witnesses About How the Crowd Crush Accident Resulted in Fallen Victims
In addition to Seon Yeo Jung’s story, more testimonies from multiple witnesses appeared explaining similar situations. According to these witnesses, even when the alley was extremely crowded, people followed the right-side traffic order. However, it was after some irresponsible individuals decided to push themselves into the crowd like it was some kind of competition.
Chosun media also reported multiple testimonies from the Itaewon Halloween stampede survivors. A 31-year-old J, who came with a friend, stated someone was pushing from behind.
“I was walking down the alley behind the Hamilton Hotel, and suddenly someone pushed me from behind. My friend and I got crushed in the crowd for about 30 minutes.”J.
20-year-old C told Chosun that people became crushing each other because they wanted to avoid the pushing. C also heard people chanting “One! Two!” while pushing. As a result, they all get pushed to the side, and some people staggered and fell, unable to move at all.
Video Footage Showing the Festival Turning into Fatal Crowd Crush and Stampede Tragedy
Following the multiple testimonies, video footage appeared, showing the initial moments of the crowd crush and stampede accident at Itaewon Halloween festival that led to fallen victims.
In the video, the crowd was seemingly moving in quite a bit of order. Just like in the testimonies, the crowd were following the right-hand traffic regulation.
It was until a powerful force pushed downhill from the top of the alley that the crowd became chaotic. Then, due to the powerful push with the help of the alley’s steep slope, people began moving out of control.
What’s worse, there was a moment when the crowd went silent, and the people began gaining control again of the situation. Then, however, the powerful force came again from the top of the alley. It was then that people began realizing the severity of the situation and started saving themselves. Some people searched for a way out, and some held onto stationary objects.
During the rescue process, officers from Police and Fire Department had to immensely struggle getting the people out from the alley. The Itaewon Halloween tragedy had the crowd stuck against each other, and they could not move at all, even with the officers’ help.
MORE Victims: 154 Death Tolls, 132 Injured, 355 Missing Reports in the Crowd Crush Accident
As a result of the crowd crush and stampede accident, more victims and missing persons adds to the previous report of the Itaewon Halloween tragedy.
Late at night on October 30 KST, MBC reported that Itaewon Halloween tragedy had resulted in more victims. Death tolls of the Itaewon accident were 154 people, of which 103 were in their 20s. 11 of these Itaewon Halloween fallen victims were teenagers, 30 people were in their 30s and 8 were in their 40s.
Moreover, 26 of the Itaewon Halloween accident fallen victims were foreigners from various countries, including Iran, China, Russia, Japan, and United States.
On top of everything the Korean entertainment industry is particularly in deep mourning for the loss of Produce 101 S2 contestant and young actor Lee Ji Han.
South Korean President Declares National Mourning Period for Itaewon Halloween Accident Victims
Finally, South Korean President Yoon declared a mourning period from his Yongsan Presidential Office on October 30.
This national mourning period will continue until November 5 for Itaewon Halloween tragedy and pay respect to the victims. In addition to announcing the mourning period, the president also declared an emergency public discourse related to the Itaewon Halloween crowd crush and stampede accident.
K-Entertainment Industry Mourns for The Accident, Cancelling Events and Releases
Since then, the Korean entertainment industry decided to postpone and even canceled events, concerts, comeback, and releases.
Various Kpop artists decided to postpone their releases. Firstly, YG entertainment also postponed the schedule promotions for all their artists. Then, Mnet and KBS decided to cancel episodes on November 3 and 4 of M Countdown and Music Bank.
On top of that, Kpop 2nd gen and original visual Jaejoong even canceled his Japan concerts hours before the performance. Jaejoong initially planned to hold ‘2022 Fallinbow(J-JUN LIVE TOUR 2022 ~Fallinbow~)’ at the Aichi Sky Expo in Nagoya, Japan. However, he requested the cancelation only 2 hours before the show in the wake of the Itaewon Halloween tragedy. As a result, he will postpone the concert to a later date.
Finally, officials are still investigating Itaewon Halloween stampede accident. And once again, Kpoppost’s team of writers offers our deepest and sincerest condolences to Itaewon victims families and relatives.
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