South Korea vows probe into deadly Halloween crush By Reuters

© Reuters. FILE Photo: A man pays tribute near the scene of the stampede for the duration of Halloween festivities, in Seoul, South Korea, October 30, 2022. REUTERS/Kim Hong-ji

SEOUL (Reuters) -South Korean Prime Minister Han Duck-soo on Monday promised a extensive investigation into the Halloween crush more than the weekend that killed far more than 150 persons in the funds and plunged the region into a 7 days of mourning.

Officials claimed the dying toll had risen right away to 154 with 149 injured, 33 of them in major ailment. Citizens from at minimum two dozen nations had been amid the dead.

Tens of hundreds of social gathering-goers had crowded into narrow streets and alleyways of Seoul’s popular Itaewon district on Saturday for the initial just about unrestricted Halloween festivities in a few many years. Many of the revelers had been in their teens or twenties and dressed in costume.

But chaos erupted when persons poured into one significantly slim and sloping alley, even after it was by now packed, witnesses reported.

On Monday morning, men and women laid white chrysanthemums, beverages and candles at a small makeshift altar off an exit of the Itaewon subway station, a couple ways absent from the website of the crush.

“It isn’t going to make any difference how they died, or why they died. People weak people, all at comparable ages to my grandchildren, they died anyway,” reported Jung Si-hoon, a retiree and a church elder, who positioned an old wooden cross at the altar. “What much more should really we say? We ought to pray for them and wish they relaxation in peace.”

Outlets and cafes nearby had been closed and law enforcement cordoned off the site of the incident, which was strewn with trash.

Educational facilities, kindergartens and businesses close to the place scrapped planned Halloween situations. K-pop live shows and government briefings had been also cancelled.

“The authorities will undertake a thorough investigation into what induced this accident and do its finest to make necessary institutional modifications so that such an accident is not recurring,” Han said as govt officers satisfied to discuss the catastrophe.

“Identification has been concluded for all of the 154 deceased other than a person, and I think it is time for follow-up steps these types of as funeral treatments to be carried out in earnest,” Han stated. “We will do our best to supply necessary help by reflecting the opinions of the bereaved families as substantially as probable.”

Han said there ended up incidents of people today propagating detest speech by blaming victims, as very well as spreading false facts and putting up disturbing scenes of the incident online. A National Law enforcement Company formal explained they were investigating six related cases.

President Yoon Suk-yeol, who has declared a interval of nationwide mourning and specified Itaewon a disaster zone, visited a memorial altar close to the Seoul city hall and compensated his respects to victims on Monday, his office reported.

The crush came as Itaewon, a symbol of freewheeling nightlife in the South Korean money for a long time, was commencing to thrive immediately after additional than two decades of COVID-19 limits, with fashionable dining establishments and retailers replacing seedy institutions.

The disaster is the country’s deadliest because a 2014 ferry sinking that killed 304 people today, mostly higher school pupils.

The sinking of the Sewol, and criticism of the official response, sent shockwaves throughout South Korea, prompting common soul-looking over basic safety steps in the nation that are probable to be renewed in the wake of Saturday’s crush.

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