South Korea: What happened in the deadly Halloween disaster in Seoul?

An estimated 100,000 people gathered to celebrate Halloween  (AP)
An estimated 100,000 people gathered to celebrate Halloween (AP)

South Korea’s Prime Minister is promising a “thorough investigation” into a horrifying Halloween stampede in Seoul that killed at least 154 people.

Han Duck-soo assured the government will “do its best to make necessary improvements” to prevent another disaster from happening again.

He and Seoul Mayor Oh Se-hoon paid tribute at a memorial altar for the victims, in front of Seoul City Hall.

Saturday’s deadly crowd surge happened at a sloped, narrow alley in Seoul’s Itaweon neighbourhood, which is a popular nightlife district, with witnesses and survivors recalling a “hell-like” chaos, of people falling onto one another “like dominoes”.

The entire Itaewon area was extremely jammed with slow-moving vehicles, as well as partygoers who were clad in Halloween costumes, making it impossible for rescuers and ambulances to reach the site in time.

An estimated 100,000 people had gathered in Itaewon, a symbol of the capital’s freewheeling nightlife, on Saturday, as the end of social distancing, mask mandates, and other anti-Covid rules allowed the first Halloween party to happen in three years.

Here’s everything you need to know.

What happened in the deadly Halloween disaster in Seoul?

At least 154 people have been confirmed to have been crushed to death in a deadly Halloween stampede in Seoul, South Korea, over the weekend.

At least 132 other people have been reported to be injured, including 37 in a serious condition, with fears that this death toll could still rise further, reports the Independent.

Officials said that it was believed that people were crushed to death after a large crowd began pushing forward in a narrow alleyway near to Hamilton Hotel, which is a major party spot in Seoul.

More than 400 emergency workers and 140 vehicles from around the nation, including available personnel in Seoul, were deployed to the streets to treat the injured.

Local media reports said the crush happened because a large number of people rushed to a bar in Itaeweon, after they heard an unidentified celebrity was visiting there, reports Al Jazeera.

TV footage and photographs from the scene show ambulance vehicles lined along the streets, amid a heavy police presence, as well as emergency workers moving the injured in stretchers.

Emergency workers, as well as pedestrians, were also seen performing CPR on people who were lying in the streets.

Local media reported that around 100,000 people had flocked to Itaewon for Halloween festivities, which were the biggest since the start of the pandemic, following the easing of Covid-19 restrictions in recent months.

British prime minister Rishi Sunak was among the international leaders to share thoughts.

South Korea will observe a period of mourning until November 5.