Itaewon crowd crush deadliest stampede in S. Korean history

SEOUL– Saturday night’s crowd crush in Seoul’s Itaewon district is the deadliest stampede ever in South Korea’s history, with at least 151 dead and 82 injured.

The tragedy happened Saturday night in a narrow downhill alley near Hamilton Hotel in Itaewon after tens of thousands of people visited the entertainment district for Halloween.

A total of 151 people, including 19 foreigners, have been killed and 82 others injured, 19 of them seriously. Many of the victims were in their late teens and 20s.

Of the deceased, 97 are female and 54 are male, while 19 of the dead are foreigners.

Before Saturday’s tragedy, the deadliest crowd crush on record was the one that happened in the southeastern port city of Busan on July 17, 1959, where 67 people were crushed to death at the Busan Municipal Stadium after a sudden downpour and rapidly rising waters caused a crowd of people to enter a narrow entrance.

Other similar accidents occurred:

On Jan. 26, 1960, 31 were killed and about 40 others were injured in a crush after a crowd of people swarmed to get on the train at Seoul Station ahead of the annual exodus for the Lunar New Year holiday.

On Feb. 11, 1980, five students were killed and 18 others were injured after falling down stairs at an elementary school in the southern city of Busan as some 1,000 students tried to attend an assembly.

On Feb. 17, 1992, one high school student was killed in a crush during a New Kids On The Block concert in Seoul.

On Dec. 16, 1996, two students were killed after a crowd of people flocked to enter a concert stadium in the southeastern city of Daegu for a live show hosted by a popular radio program.

On Oct. 3, 2005, 11 were killed and 145 were injured at a music concert event in Sangju, about 200 kilometers southeast of Seoul. The then Sangju mayor was sentenced to a suspended prison term of 1 1/2 years on charges of involuntary manslaughter over the accident.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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