‘It was almost apocalyptic’: waiting for Seoul’s crowd tragedy

Comments on This Story Seoul Comments — At first, the young woman felt herself weighed down by the crowded crowd as she slowly pushed through a narrow alley in the South Korean capital, where she had enjoyed a Saturday night Halloween celebration. , and her soon her body pressed her so hard that her feet could no longer touch the ground. The next thing the 23-year-old boy remembers was that he was in a pile of people, her lungs flattened, and her legs were numb as she inhaled her shallow breaths. She remembers people calling for help and staying silent as the body around her drooped. “I thought, ‘Okay, I have to be next,'” said Juliana Velandia Santaella, a Mexican medical student who was pushed out of the crowd. by a man standing nearby. “I really felt like I was going to die,” she said. By Sunday, the frenzied moment turned into a mourning procession bringing white flowers and candles to the scene, along with questions about how the celebration could have turned into a crowd-overwhelming event. At least 153 people died in one of the worst disasters in recent history. After hearing voices of mourning from around the world, South Korean officials confirmed the identity of nearly all victims on Sunday, including 20 foreigners from 10 countries, South Korean officials said. , one, including two from the United States, was a 20-year-old college student attending a semester in Marietta, Georgia. Others come from Iran, Norway, Uzbekistan and China. According to the South Korean Ministry of the Interior and Safety, the rest were mostly young people in their 20s and 30s who gathered in the narrow alleys of the historic nightlife district known as Itaewon. The disaster is why public safety officials did not foresee the need to manage the tens of thousands of party attendees expected at the explosively popular Halloween celebrations. ‘Too many corpses’: Seoul witnesses recall true horror Halloween night Just two days ago, the district around Yongsan announced safety measures including coronavirus prevention, street cleanliness, restaurant safety inspections and crackdowns on the possibility of drug use. Crowd control issues weren’t on the list, and the alleys up the hill on a Saturday night were full of people. It was so crowded that a waterfall formed when people on top of the mountain fell. According to eyewitnesses interviewed by Korean media, many people heading down the hill shouted “Stop, stop pushing”. Official events such as festivals require detailed safety rules, but the same disaster prevention techniques are not applied in public places where large numbers of people are expected to gather informally, so safety rules are ambiguous because there is no clear dedicated agency.” An investigation into the crowd surge is ongoing, and a Halloween Crush in Seoul’s Itaewon has left more than 150 dead and dozens injured. South Korea declared a period of national mourning on October 30. (Video: Julie Yoon/Washington Post, Photo: Anthony Wallace/AFP/Getty Images/Washington Post) Seoul Crowd Crush Shows Gap in Korea’s Safety Rules, Experts Mehdi Musaid Max Planck Institute for Human Development’s crowd behavior researcher said the nature of the relatively spontaneous event, with no tickets and no access controls, exacerbated the disaster. I’ve seen what I usually see in this kind of thinking. There were too many people with regards to the available space. [This is] Measured in density, it’s the number of people per square meter.” In this case, I’d guess about 8-10 people per square meter, like others he studied. “At that density level, very few people start to faint because the first person is so tight that they can’t breathe anymore,” he said. “And if this continues, everyone in the area will pass out and die one by one from lack of oxygen.” Unrequited love in Seoul was different from the music festival, he added, because people were “in the city and not a planned event with tickets that would bring the crowds.” You never know which street people will go to.” Even the alley in Itaewon, at the center of the crowd on Saturday, looked dangerous the night before as the crowd pushed each other in the cramped hallway. Hayley Johnson, 29, who said she went out to enjoy the Friday night vibe, recalled that the crowd “managed” until she reached two famous clubs, Fountain and Atelier, steps away from the alley where her unrequited love took place. She arrived on a narrow road. “You can see people leaning to the side from behind,” she said. Me and my friend were terrified,” said G. Keith Still, visiting professor of crowd science at the University of Suffolk, UK. Crush or surge occurs when there is a movement such as pushing when people are grouped in a narrow space. The rush means there’s room for people to run, but that’s not the case in Itaewon, he said. “If the whole crowd falls down as one, and you’re in an enclosed space, you can’t get back up,” Steele said. They attempted CPR by pulling their shirt over their face to signal when their efforts were unsuccessful. The video reviewed by the Washington Post showed the body of a police officer running to the scene, a man being treated with a defibrillator and a woman covered in clothes with blood on her side. Others lay still with their mouths open. Almost all the citizens, not the medical staff, tried to save these people,” he said. He pointed to the main market street in Itaewon, where rescuers loaded the covered bodies with ambulances, adding that “they were lying on the other side for about half a mile.” “There were too many bodies.” On Saturday night, brothers Joshua and Angela Smith from Florida looked out the window from their ninth-floor hotel room and watched the disaster unfold in the alley below. Joshua saw first responders using hand pumps to oxygenate the three victims who were taken to an ambulance and saw a fourth stretcher carrying bodies in bags. Angela Smith heard screams in the alley. “It was terrible and terrible,” Joshua said. Police brought Sophia Akhiyat, a 31-year-old doctor from Florida, into the alley for help. “These people are mostly dead or dead by the time we help them,” she said. South Korean President Yoon Seok – Heat wandered the scene on Sunday, and now alleys are blocked with police tape and littered with Halloween masks and plastic candy buckets. The country declared a period of national mourning through November 5 and classmates flags were hoisted on federal buildings. Michelle Lee Ye-hee and Kelly Casulis reported from Seoul. Stephanie McCrummen and Praveena Somasundaram from Washington; and Annabelle Timsit in London.
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