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Halloween celebrations in South Korea turned deadly after a stampede over the weekend killed at least 153 people in one of the worst disasters in the country in years, CBS News reported.
The incident happened Saturday night in the capital Seoul’s leisure district of Itaewon – long known for its bar scene – after crowds of people started entering a narrow downhill alley near the Hamilton Hotel.
One survivor said many people fell and toppled on one another “like dominos.” Officials are investigating what led people to surge into the narrow space.
The majority of the victims were teenagers and those in their 20s. More than 80 people were injured and the death toll also includes at least 26 foreigners, NPR noted.
About 100,000 people had gathered in Itaewon for South Korea’s biggest outdoor Halloween festivities since the coronavirus pandemic began. In recent months, the South Korean government had relaxed Covid-19 restrictions.
Saturday’s stampede is South Korea’s biggest disaster since a ferry sank in 2014, killing 304 people, most of them high school students. That incident exposed lax safety norms and regulatory shortcomings – it was partly blamed on excessive and poorly-tied cargo, as well as a crew that was ill-prepared for emergency scenarios.