More than 140 people were killed and roughly 150 more were injured in Seoul on Saturday night after a stampede broke out during Halloween celebrations in the South Korean city.
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Officials said they are investigating exactly what happened and that they received reports of people "buried" in crowds starting at 10:30 p.m. local time, according to CNN.
More than 100,000 people gathered and clogged the narrow streets of the Itaewon nightlife district as they celebrated Halloween, the New York Times reports. Many of the victims were crushed in the packed crowd.
Pictures and videos posted online show people and paramedics performing CPR on people lying in the street and stretchers taking bodies away from the scene.
One video shows a man trying to escape a large crowd by climbing up a building.
\u201cPushing and stressing hysterically, a man tries to escape..during the celebrations at the Halloween party..in South Korea..\n\n#SouthKorea #Halloween #Seoul \n#Itaewon #\uc774\ud0dc\uc6d0 #\uc774\ud0dc\uc6d0\uc0ac\uace0 #\uc555\uc0ac\uc0ac\uace0.\u201d— Siraj Noorani (@Siraj Noorani) 1667063241
The fire chief also reported that the majority of the victims were in their 20s. He also explained the bodies of people who were killed were sent to hospitals or a gym, where family members could identify them.
According to the Korea Herald, Choi Eul-cheon, head of the Yongsan Police's criminal division, said "no drug-related reports have been confirmed," after receiving a question about whether drugs could have been involved in the deadly incident.
The local newspaper also noted that more than 360 firefighters and 142 ambulances were called to help with the unfolding situation.
Many world leaders expressed their condolences on Twitter.
\u201cHorrific news from Seoul tonight.\n \nAll our thoughts are with those currently responding and all South Koreans at this very distressing time.\u201d— Rishi Sunak (@Rishi Sunak) 1667070071
U.K. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said, "All our thoughts are with those currently responding and all South Koreans at this very distressing time."
\u201cShocked and saddened by the terrible tragedy in Seoul with at least 146 lives lost and many more injured.\n\nOur thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends of those killed or injured, and all the people of South Korea tonight.\u201d— Miche\u00e1l Martin (@Miche\u00e1l Martin) 1667072099
Irish Prime Minister also said he was praying for "all the people of South Korea tonight."
The South Korean government had eased restrictions in recent months and this marked the country's largest outdoor Halloween celebration since the COVID-19 pandemic began, the Associated Press said.
The media outlet also says this is the biggest disaster in South Korea since 304 people died after a ferry sank in April 2014.