Deadly crowdsurge in South Korea leaves 153 dead

Aishwarya Eathara, Contributing Writer

One of the worst disasters in years for South Korea happened on October 30, where a deadly crowdsurge occurred, causing 153 people to die and leaving 103 people injured at a Halloween festival. 

Crowdsurges are when a crowd is incredibly dense to the point where you can’t move, and people die because their bodies can get crushed and they can’t breathe. This is what occurred, as a crowd of 100,000 people tried to move down a narrow alleyway. During the event, the partygoers were packed so tightly, they were unable to move, which led to people pushing and shoving. This eventually caused a panic, and the range of costumes that people wore only worsened the confusion. 

Among the people who passed away, there were several people from other countries, including two from the US. In total, there were 26 foreign nationals. 

Eyewitnesses state that people had CPR performed on them. There were rows of dead bodies with tarps covering them. In the end, the total death toll divided by gender was 56 men and 97 women. The minimal crowd control had turned deadly, and visuals that were posted on social media show how close the people were crammed together. 

Firefighters were mobilized and 142 ambulances were placed into action. Rescue workers were conducting CPR on the several patients who were experiencing cardiac arrest at the time. 

Experts predict that the reason why the crowd became deadly was due to poor event planning and organization, something that the South Korean government has been working on since the event. This included coming up with crowd control systems in order to prevent crowdsurges from happening and to create a safe environment where people can have fun. As soon as the tragedy happened, many people called for more regulations to be placed on crowd control, and one example was Japan, who took extra precautionary measures in order to ensure the safety of their civilians during  Halloween events. 

Ken Fallas, a 32-year-old, who witnessed the disaster in Seoul, shared his personal experience of what the people who were present saw during the catastrophe.

“We were unable to move back. The music was loud. Nobody knew what was happening. People were still partying with the emergency happening right in front of us. What’s going on from here, where can we go? There was no exit,” Fallas said.

The people present at the disaster described it as confusing and loud, as everyone was in a panic, concerned for their lives and their safety. 

The South Korean government expressed their apologies and instated a mourning period for those who have died during this catastrophe. They stated that three military personnel were killed, along with six students who were in school, and three teachers. 

The government established memorial services in various cities for people to commemorate the people who had died during the tragedy. Over tens of thousands of people had shown up to sites and placed flowers, snacks, and candles, as well as condolence messages to the families who had lost their loved ones.