At least 151 dead & 82 injured after Itaewon crowd crush, many in late teens & 20s

The death toll includes 19 foreigners.

Lee Wei Lin | October 30, 2022, 11:43 AM

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[Editor's note, Oct. 30 8:30pm: According to crowd safety expert G. Keith Still, who spoke to The Washington Post, what happened in Itaewon can be described as a crowd crush or surge.

It happens when people are packed together in a confined space and movement causes the crowd to fall over.

A stampede implies that people had place to run, which was not the case in Itaewon.

This article has been updated with the correct term.]

The death toll from the crowd crush in Itaewon, Seoul on Oct. 29 has climbed to 151, according to Korean broadcaster MBC.

82 more were injured.

19 foreigners among deceased

The head of the fire department of the area, Choi Seong Beom, confirmed that 19 foreigners are among the dead, including those from Iran, Uzbekistan, China and Norway.

Choi also shared that among the 151 dead, 97 are female and 54 are male.

The age group most affected by the incident are those in their late teens and 20s.

The Seoul city government confirmed that 355 missing person reports have been made in connection with the incident.

Next-of-kin waiting for news of loved ones

The Korea Herald reported that the next-of-kin, including parents, grandparents, and friends, waited outside hospitals around Seoul for news of their loved ones.

Soonchunhyang University Hospital, located 950 metres from Itaewon, received about half of the night's fatalities. They ultimately had to turn some away as their hospital morgue ran out of space.

One parent who was unable to contact her son, who had been to Itaewon, was told that there were "a lot of lost phones" in the area, and urged to check nearby hospitals "and see if he made it there".

According to The Korea Herald, there was at least one family whose members split up to check different hospitals across Seoul to find their loved one.

Witness accounts hints at what sparked crowd crush

Witness accounts suggest that the crowd crush in the sloped alley near Hamilton Hotel was sparked after a "massive group of people surged into" it, Yonhap added.

"People kept pushing down into a downhill club alley, resulting in other people screaming and falling down like dominos," Yonhap reported a witness as sharing. "I thought I would be crushed to death too as people kept pushing without realising there were people falling down at the start of the [crowd crush]."

Top screenshot from MBC News