Mother of Itaewon stampede victim searches for missing daughter

SEOUL– Kim Da-bin, a 19-year-old, asked her mother for money before going out to Itaewon to meet her boyfriend in one of their last dates before he goes to the military for mandatory service. Seven hours later, her boyfriend called her mother, crying and saying that she is dead.

The 55-year-old mother, who gave only her last name Ahn, recounted the last moment she shared with the ill-fated daughter while scouring a hospital in Seoul on Sunday looking for her, one of the victims in a deadly stampede during Halloween festivities the previous day.

Ahn asked that an alias be used for her daughter’s name.

“She said, ‘Mom, gimme some money!’ and then went out,” Ahn told Yonhap News Agency at Soonchunhyang University Hospital, the biggest hospital in the Itaewon area where many of the dead and injured were brought by emergency responders following the stampede.

At least 151 people were killed and 82 injured, according to authorities.

Firefighting officials said they received their first report of people with breathing difficulties after 10 p.m. Saturday when a crowd surge in a narrow downhill alley in Itaewon’s nightlife district apparently crushed scores of revelers, many in their 20s. The exact cause is under investigation.

“Her boyfriend called me around midnight, crying, saying Da-bin was dead, that she’d been under a pile of people for over an hour and that he’d tried to pull her out but couldn’t,” Ahn said. “I rushed here after getting his call but haven’t received confirmation.”

Da-bin is the second of four children who was mature for her age partly due to the early death of their father, the mother said, adding her daughter had started working early because she was determined to help raise her younger siblings.

“I’ll just keep searching,” she said.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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