In a horrifying crowd surge on October 29, Saturday, at least 154 people were killed in Itaewon, South Korea. According to local reports, it was the country's first Halloween celebration since the COVID pandemic, and an unprecedented number of revelers flocked to the commercial area of South Korea's capital city.
Survivors of the deadly crowd crush have revealed that they were asked by officials and medical personnel to perform CPR on the victims. However, most of the victims were already dead by the time help reached them.
Ana, a Spanish citizen who was in a bar in Itaewon celebrating with her friends, told the BBC that she was taught on the spot how to administer CPR. She said:
"They were telling me how to hold their heads and open their mouths, and things like that. I was trying to help but they were both dead as well. I have to say all the people they were bringing in to do CPR, most of them were already not breathing so they couldn’t do anything."
She further stated that a couple of her friends who had basic medical knowledge volunteered to help but could not save the victims.
"We had two friends who knew how to do CPR and they went out to help. Three minutes later or maybe more, they came back, looking so traumatized and crying. Because they tried to save five or six people and they all died in my friends' hands."
Dr. Lee Beom-suk, a medic at the scene, told local broadcaster YTN:
"so many victims' faces were pale. I could not catch their pulse or breath and many of them had a bloody nose."
What made the terrifying event at Itaewon even more traumatic was the helplessness that the survivors faced, for they couldn't do much to help the dying.
Halloween celebrations at Itaewon took a grim turn on Saturday, death toll still rising
After two years of lockdown, Seoul had geared up for a Halloween weekend celebration only for the night to take a terrifying turn. A massive crowd surge occurred around 10:30 pm in the alleys of Itaewon.
According to officials, at least 154 people have been killed in the surge, including two American nationals. Witness Song Sehyun told CNN:
"I saw the people going to the left side and I saw the person getting to the opposite side. The person in the middle got jammed, so they had no way to communicate. They could not breathe."
Videos of the incident have gone viral on the internet and posts about missing people have continued to make their rounds on social media platforms.
The death toll is still expected to rise with almost 100 people hospitalized.