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At least 59 people were killed in a Halloween stampede in Seoul

SEOUL, South Korea – At least 59 people were killed and 150 others injured after they were crushed by a large crowd advancing on a narrow street during Halloween celebrations in the capital Seoul, South Korean officials said.

Choi Sung-beom, chief of the Seoul Yongsan Fire Department, said the death toll could rise as emergency workers continued to take victims to hospitals in Seoul after a stampede in the Itaewon resort area on Saturday night. He said 13 of the dead have been sent to hospitals, while the bodies of the remaining 46 are still on the streets.

Officials say people were believed to have been crushed to death after a large crowd began pushing forward in a narrow alley outside the Hamilton Hotel, Seoul’s main party spot.

More than 400 ambulance personnel and 140 vehicles from across the country, including all available personnel in Seoul, were deployed on the streets to treat the victims.

A separate statement from the National Fire Agency said officials were still trying to determine the exact number of patients who received emergency treatment.

Television footage and photos from the scene showed ambulances lined the streets amid a heavy police presence and paramedics carrying the injured on stretchers. Emergency personnel and pedestrians were also seen performing CPR on people lying on the streets.

In one section, paramedics were seen checking on a dozen or more people who lay motionless under blue blankets.

Police, who were restricting traffic in nearby areas to speed up transport of the injured to hospitals across the city, also confirmed that dozens of people were receiving CPR on the streets of Itaewon. The Seoul Metropolitan Government issued emergency text messages urging people in the area to return home as soon as possible.

A local police officer said he was also told there was a stampede on the streets of Itaewon, where crowds of people had gathered for Halloween. The officer spoke on condition of anonymity, saying the details of the incident were still being investigated.

Earlier, some local media reported that the crash occurred after a large number of people rushed to the Itaewon bar after hearing that an unknown celebrity had visited.

South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol issued a statement calling on officials to provide prompt aid to victims and check the safety of the celebrations. He also instructed the Ministry of Health to quickly deploy medical teams and provide beds in a nearby hospital to treat the injured.

Local media reported that around 100,000 people took to the streets of Itaewon for Halloween celebrations, the biggest since the start of the pandemic after the easing of COVID-19 restrictions in recent months.

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