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US students killed in South Korea stampede: officials

College student Stephen Blessy, 20, was among more than 150 people killed in a mob attack in Seoul, South Korea, officials said.

College student Stephen Blessy, 20, was among more than 150 people killed in a mob attack in Seoul, South Korea, officials said.

Screenshot from Steve Blesi’s Twitter page

A campus community is mourning a Georgia college student who died in a crowd during a Halloween celebration in Seoul, South Korea.

Stephen Blessy, International Business Specialist Kennesaw State Universitywas among more than 150 people killed in the weekend incident, university officials confirmed Sunday, Oct. 30. He was 20 years old.

Blesi was on a study abroad trip with 10 other students who were reported safe by the university after Saturday’s deadly stampede in Seoul’s Itaewon district.

“On behalf of the entire Kennesaw State community, our thoughts and prayers go out to Steven’s family and friends as they mourn this unfathomable loss,” KSU President Kathy Schweig said. “We have contacted Stephen’s family and offered them all the university’s resources available.”

Blesi’s father, Steve Blesi, tweeted that his son was “in a stampede zone” and appealed to the public for help after being unable to reach him. Amid a flurry of responses, he described calls his son’s phone repeatedly, until a police officer responded and confirmed the son’s death.

“We you have to be strong for our other son who I’m picking up from college today,” tweeted Steve Blessy. “Somehow we have to carry on, but our lives are forever changed.”

Ann Giskeanother American student studying nursing at University of Kentucky, also died in the stampede, the university said. She lived abroad for a semester as part of a study abroad program.

“There are no adequate or appropriate words to describe the pain of a beautiful life cut short,” said University of Kentucky President Eli Capiluto. “It’s not fair and it’s not clear. It’s a loss and it hurts beyond words.”

What is a crowd pleaser?

South Korean officials are investigating what caused a crowd of “tens of thousands” the number of people attending the Halloween party will get out of control, leading to a deadly crowd attack.

A a stampede of a crowd, or a surge of a crowd, can occur when “people are packed into a confined space and continue to push each other, causing the crowd to fall in a ‘domino effect,'” Aljazeera reported. This makes it difficult for people to lift, and the lack of space can cause breathing difficulties or suffocation.

“People kept pushing into the alleyway of the club for the descent, causing other people to scream and fall down like dominoes,” the witness said. Yonhap news agency in South Korea.

Ten people died in a similar incident last year during Astroworld Music Festival in Houston, Texas.

Officials said they are now interviewing bystanders to find out what happened.

“We video surveillance analysis to find out the exact cause of the accident,” said chief police investigator Nam Gu Jun, according to Reuters. “We will continue to interview more witnesses, including staff at the nearby store.”

Kennesaw is about 30 miles northwest of downtown Atlanta.

A mourner lays flowers to pay respects to the victims of a fatal car accident after Halloween celebrations on Saturday night on a street near the scene in Seoul, South Korea, Monday, Oct. 31, 2022. Police are investigating what sparked the stampede that killed more than for 150 people during Halloween celebrations in Seoul last weekend in the country’s worst disaster in years. (AP Photo/Lee ​​Jin-man) Lee Jin-man AP

Thanasia is a real-time national reporter based in Atlanta covering news from Georgia, Mississippi and the Southeast. Its part is retail and consumer news. She is a graduate of Kennesaw State University and joined McClatchy in 2020.


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