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What caused the stampede in Itaewon? Celebrity sighting theory explored

Itaewon saw over 150 people dead because of a stampede. (Image via Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images)
Itaewon saw over 150 people dead because of a stampede (Image via Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images)

The theory that the deadly stampede in Itaewon was caused by a celebrity sighting has left the internet divided.

On October 29, over 150 people, mostly young partygoers in their 20s, were crushed and left dead in a crowd surge in Seoul's famed nightlight district of Itaewon.

Offering deepest condolences to everyone who lost their loved ones in last night's tragedy 🙏 #itaweon #prayforitaewon #ITAEWONHALLOWEEN #ItaewonStampede https://t.co/SctkLgzMRR

A narrow sloped alleyway saw tens of thousands of people gather for Halloween festivities when suddenly, hundreds began to fall to the ground and were trampled by other panic-stricken partygoers.

As per local media reports (via Daily Star UK), the tragic incident started at around 10:30 pm when several people surged into a bar after rumors circulated that a celebrity was visiting.


Twitterati is not buying the celebrity sighting theory in Itaewon stampede case

After the theory of a celebrity sighting being the reason behind the deadly stampede went viral, Twitter was left divided over the rumor. It is important to note that as of writing, no official cause of the stampede has been revealed by the South Korean authorities, but President Yoon Suk-yeol has commanded a full-fledged investigation into the matter so that it never happens again.

Several Twitter users rubbished the rumor that the crowd crush was caused by a celebrity, since the Itaewon area is known to spot several because of its party scenes. Users simply blamed the understaffed police force and the government for making rumors to avoid backlash.

the itaewon incident was NOT due to a celebrity being there. it is the most popular spot to be and celebrities often frequent it. the neighborhood has dealt with even bigger crowds. the fault lies in bad crowd control and officials are trying to veer the fault another way.
It makes me so sad that what happened in itaewon is being called a stampede instead of the crowd crush it was. People think they were running to see a celebrity or something :(((
Why are trying to turn the whole Itaewon situation against celebrity spotting? Doesn't celebrities often go there to chill? It's not like they visited the place for the first time
I keep seeing random people talking about this rumour of celebrity sighting in Itaewon causing the incident...my dad told me, that they were saying that even on the news...People really just believe whatever bullshit even if it doesn't make a sense.
What happened in Itaewon was absolutely devastating. People making this about idols and celebrities need to get their heads on straight. So many are dead due to lack of emergency services and control. Saying you hope your faves aren't sad is ridiculous.
If the celebrity bit doesn’t work, the next blame goes the foreigners especially since it’s Itaewon. The government will do anything to avoid backlash. twitter.com/discoseoul/sta…
@chortlegeek @NBCNews if you've ever been to itaewon you know how many celebrities are there all the time, i think all these rumours circulating on twt are just to cover the fact that there were almost no police officers there before the jncident, 0 crowd control or preventive safety measures...
@sinchan_is_real @bIckpinkies @YouNeverKnow_05 @amxzuvk @YvonneKuoHy1 @jooheoneater @paominigz @bluesunset___ @allkpop There’s always a celebrity in Itaewon. The streets are small and there’s simply too many people. People were impatient and pushed but anyone who’s been there in past years know it takes a loopnnnggg time to get to your destination on Halloween

However, some users supported the theory that the Itaewon stampede was caused by a celebrity without backing their claims.

Social media is a powerful tool for crisis communications and emergency, but the tragedy in Itaewon also shows how instant information sharing about a local celebrity visiting a bar can trigger huge crowd of people rushing towards the same direction and cause deadly crowd crush.
It’s so tragic, what happened at itaewon. Just because somebody “saw a celebrity” so many people died, got injured, got traumatized. So many parents are looking for their kids. And even after seeing human beings die some people still continued partying. Inhumane https://t.co/2ySA9qB9tE
Absolute scenes of chaos in the nightlife district Itaewon (이태원), Seoul (서울) as the Halloween party has turned into a Halloween nightmare with 50 people suffered from cardiac arrestAn unidentified celebrity visited a bar in Itaewon which drew a massive crowd. https://t.co/zWzYKPlbyG
Am I hearing this right, Itaewon stampede was caused by a celebrity sighting notified by an... app?! Knowing K-pop hysteria, the UX designers did not foresee this happening??
Am I hearing this right, Itaewon stampede was caused by a celebrity sighting notified by an... app?! Knowing K-pop hysteria, the UX designers did not foresee this happening??
@suhnIights personal space and public decency is a myth in korea, everyone here could careless about eachothers bubble, none the less there was a celebrity in itaewon that originally caused mass panic
i wonder who this celebrity is that caused the itaewon seoul accident

Itaewon's festivities saw little to no restrictions for the first time in three years

As per the Times of India, local shopowners who have been in the area for almost 30 years, told AFP that this year's crowd was "unprecedentedly large." Furthermore, they revealed that a statement issued earlier by the police suggested only 200 police officers were stationed in the narrow-landed area.

While speaking with AFP, an eyewitness named Jarmil Taylor described the chaos in the Itaewon area.

"People couldn't move forward and were pushing and pushing, and it was a steep hill so people were falling on top of each other, collapsing on top of each other. People that were at the back were pushing and pushing because they had no idea what was going on in the front."
BREAKING: Footage shows the very moment when people were being crushed by the weight of other people in Itaweon, South Korea in connection to a #Halloween party. Reports of up to 80 fatalities.#Itaewon #이태원 #이태원사고 #압사사고 https://t.co/e75u7SlHyY

Videos that went viral on social media also showed the area jam packed, starting off peacefully before suddenly experiencing chaos with people pushing each other into a narrow lane that was already crowded with partygoers.

Unlike most stampedes where people die of suffocation, Seoul authorities said many victims suffered cardiac arrests due to the rush.

As reported by Sky News, the chief of Seoul's Yongsan fire department, Choi Seong-beom, stated that at least 50 people were treated for cardiac arrest.

"A number of people fell during a Halloween festival, and we have a large number of casualties."

The chief reported that the Itaewon stampede mostly includes women as victims, adding that they were killed near a nightclub. He also stated that emergency services were taking the bodies to gyms and hospitals for identification by their respective family members.

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Edited by Dinesh Renthlei
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